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California GEOMAC wild-fire viewer
map of San Diego California area fires from _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Where homes burned in Scripps Ranch (from _SD Union-Tribune_)
Dice Report: 31,393 job ads
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Investment in Technology is Roaring Softly Back
"This new low-cost hardware and software has helped Reel FX, based in Dallas, save money and take on new work, too, encouraging its decision makers to add another 80 computers by year-end... business spending on information technology - computer hardware, software and services - increased at an annual rate of more than 15%. This, in fact, was the second consecutive quarter of encouraging growth for information technology investment, which also rose more than 15% in the 3 months ended in June... adjusted for price and performance changes over time, [it] shows an even more dramatic increase of more than 18%... In the United States, personal computer shipments increased 19% in the 3 months ended in September, compared with the year-earlier quarter, according to Gartner, a research firm. The revenue gain was about half that level, because of lower prices..."
2003-11-02 14:17PST (17:17EST) (22:17GMT)
Symantec Says No to Pro-Gun Sites
"A recent American Rifleman contained small column that said that Symantec's new Internet Security 2004 would block pro gun rights sites (i.e. NRA sites), while not blocking similar anti-gun rights web sites... To my surprise I found [that] every NRA site was blocked and was in the category 'weapons'. This even included the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. Some sites that were not blocked were notable anti-gun rights sites such as The Brady Campaign, and Good Bye Guns. The only anti-gun rights site that was blocked that I could find was Hand Gun Control's web site."
A Time of Need
"poverty and homelessness are on the rise even as the streets hum with ambitious new-comers and the average price of a Manhattan apartment rockets toward the million-dollar mark... the city finds 18 of 100 residents impoverished."
2003-11-02 16:00PST (19:00EST) (2003-11-03 00:00GMT)
Chitra Ragavan _US News & World Report_
Red China Doll
"When ICS and BC stepped off the plane in Beijing on 1990 November 30, nothing prepared them for the reception they were about to receive. The 2 FBI agents had been dispatched to assess security at the American Embassy, a low-profile assignment. But from the moment they arrived, Smith and Cleveland were placed under heavy surveillance by the Ministry of State Security, [Red China's] KGB... It was as if the MSS knew who the agents were. ICS finally understood why 5 months later... A Chinese-American woman working as an intelligence asset for an FBI agent in Los Angeles had tipped off the MSS about their trip... It was not until more than 12 years later, in fact--in April of this year--that the source of the leak was finally arrested. According to the FBI, she is Katrina Leung, a prominent Chinese-American bookstore owner, business consultant, and Republican fundraiser. The FBI now says that Leung, in addition to her many other accomplishments, was a top-drawer [Red Chinese] spy. A key source of the secrets Leung allegedly purveyed to her Chinese handlers, prosecutors allege, was the Los Angeles FBI agent who recruited Leung in 1982 and handled her until he retired in 2000 November... The review reveals a systemic failure of security procedures and a stunningly free-and-easy pattern of access by Leung to some of the nation's most highly secret intelligence operations. The security breaches were also at least partly the result, sources say, of the FBI's failure to commit anywhere near the same kinds of resources to its [Red China] counterintelligence program as it did to its Soviet, and then Russian, counterpart. FBI managers compounded those problems, government officials say, by failing to ensure that the bureau stopped using Leung as an asset in 1991 April, after it learned that she had tipped [Red Chinese] agents to the Beijing visit by the 2 FBI agents."
2003-11-03 07:03PST (10:03EST) (15:03GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US October ISM index shows improvement
"The ISM index rose to 57.0% in October from 53.7% in September."
2003-11-03 08:59PST (11:59EST) (16:59GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
FCC to fine AT&T for violating do-not-call registry
"The Federal Communications Commission said Monday it would fine AT&T $780K for apparent violations of the federal do-not-call rules, the first enforcement actions for the telemarketing registry set up by the Federal Trade Commission."
2003-11-03 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Casey Wian _CNN_
Education at Home
"At least a million American children are now being home schooled or about 2% of those aged 6 to 17. While estimates vary, all agree the numbers are growing rapidly, up to 15% a year... At USC... applicants [educated at home] tripled over the past five years."
Nicholas Wade _NY Times_
Icelandic Company Says It Has Found Osteoporosis Gene
"A gene linked to osteoporosis has been identified by Decode Genetics, a company that is leading efforts to find the genes that underlie common human diseases."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
File Sharing, Copyright, Free Speech, Investigative Journalism Collide
"Diebold Election Systems, which makes voting machines, is waging legal war against grass-roots advocates, including dozens of college students, who are posting on the Internet copies of the company's internal communications about its electronic voting machines. The students say [they are merely] trying to spread the word about problems with the company's software... Copyright law, and specifically the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, are being abused by Diebold, said Wendy Seltzer, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. Copyright is supposed to protect creative expression, Ms. Seltzer said, but in this case the law is being evoked 'because they don't want the facts out there'."
William J. Kole _Denver Post_
Foreign workers fall prey to scams: Handlers rob and then report them
"'Everything they told me was a lie.', he said of the shady middlemen who promised him tax-free cash to sweep supermarket floors, only to lead him on a pocket-emptying odyssey through 3 states and a close call with federal agents. Thousands of poor Eastern Europeans are being exploited by unscrupulous contractors who lure them to America for illegal menial jobs, only to skim their pay-checks and subject them to arrest and deportation, an Associated Press investigation has found. Last week's raids at 58 Wal-Mart stores across the United States, and the subsequent arrests of 245 workers alleged to be illegal - including 35 Czechs and others from the former Soviet bloc - under-score a troubling trend that has widened since the collapse of communism a dozen years ago... After shelling out $1,300 on a visa, plane tickets and health insurance, the 29-year-old [man] arrived in Dallas in 2000 to be told by a local Czech contact that the job he was assured would earn him up to $1,900 a month sweeping a super-market in Tulsa, OK, didn't exist."
Michael Schroeder _Computer World_
Skilled professionals mount opposition to unfair trade: They're angered over the flow of high-skilled jobs over-seas
"The new free-trade opponents include design engineers, skilled machinists, IT experts, and CEOs of specialized manufacturing concerns. They long believed that they were largely protected from foreign competition because of their advanced degrees, English language skills and the supposed necessity of dealing face-to-face with customers. But now they worry that their jobs are at risk. At the focus of their ire are big U.S. companies that have shifted business to [Red China] and India, which are becoming increasingly successful at nabbing service, IT and high-end manufacturing work that until recently has been the preserve of U.S. businesses. Companies seeking to lower their costs have either moved operations abroad or have contracted with foreign companies to supply essential services."
Berlene Jacques _Indian Voice_
Story from a wild-fire victim
"I live on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, San Diego county CA, which is located in the Paradise Fire area. My people and those that live on the Rincon and San Pasqual reservations were evacuated. Mesa Grande and Santa Ysabel reservations were also evacuated; they were in the Cedar fire area. A grand total of 726 adults and 230+ children had to leave their homes. And NO ONE came to the aid of the Indian people... We had to take care of our own... FEMA never showed and the Red Cross showed up yesterday (as some of us were getting ready to go back to our homes). As a matter of fact, I watched our reservation burn for a day and a half before anyone was put on our fire. If it wasn't for our young men getting out on the line and keeping our homes safe, we would have been burnt out too."
Bob Davis _ComputerWorld_
What the Tech-Job Exodus Means to US Programmers
"In 1992, computer guru Ed Yourdon warned that low-cost Indian workers were poised to steal U.S. high-tech jobs -- a decade before the main-stream media started reporting that fear... Over the past 3 years, the U.S. has lost perhaps [more than] 150K IT jobs to foreign competition -- probably the same number lost during the 1990s. But the economy was creating so many [new] jobs in the 1990s, few noticed."
2003-11-03 21:02PST (00:02EST) (05:02GMT)
Bambi Francisco _MarketWatch_
Extreme sports: Net investors should beware of arrogance
"According to the latest Ned Davis Research, the crowd sentiment poll stood at 69.5. Any time the sentiment poll topped the 61.5 level stocks unraveled, typically falling 7% over the following 12 months. The last time the index rose above 69 appears to be around 2000 January when it struck 69.2. The Nasdaq subsequently rose more than 20% to top 5,000 in March, only to topple into a 3-year decline. The crowd index also struck 67.2 back in 2001 May, when the Nasdaq stood at around 2,100. By September, right before 9/11, the Nasdaq broke through 1,300."
2003-11-03 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US October Announced Lay-Offs Surge 125%
"Lay-off announcements from U.S. companies more than doubled in October to 171,874, the highest in a year, according to the monthly tally released Tuesday by out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas... So far in 2003, 1.04M job reductions have been announced."
Update on "cyber-dissident" cases in Red China
"[Red China's] crack-down on free expression on the Internet hit difficulties after two high-profile cyber-dissident cases were forced into the spotlight Monday -- one over lack of evidence and the other after witnesses alleged police forced them to testify. Prosecutors bounced back to police a case implicating one of [Red China's] youngest dissidents -- a student known as 'Stainless Steel Mouse' detained for posting essays calling for democracy on the Internet."
2003-11-04 07:13PST (10:13EST) (15:13GMT)
Job-cut announcements jump: US companies set 172K job cuts last month, the highest in a year
"U.S. businesses announced 171,874 job cuts in October, up 125% from [225% of] September's level of 76,506, according to Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas... The automotive industry led the pay-roll-trimming, with 28,363 announced cuts. Retail followed with 21,169 cuts, the long-suffering telecommunications sector announced 21,030 cuts, the 'industrial goods' sector announced 17,484 cuts and the consumer products sector announced 12,077 cuts. Among U.S. states, Michigan had the most job-cut announcements, with 31,105. Texas followed with 21,033 cuts, New York had 20,486 cuts, New Jersey had 10,750 cuts and California had 10,719 cuts."
2003-11-04 07:59PST (10:59EST) (15:59GMT)
_Sacramento California Business Journal_
October's job cuts were largest in a year
"October's 171,874 job cuts jumped 125% over (225% of) September's 76,506. It was the highest monthly figure since 2002 October, when 176,010 job cuts were announced. The cuts make 2003 the third consecutive year that planned job cuts have surpassed the million mark, reaching 1,043,954 last month. The pace was somewhat slower than the 2 previous years, however. The Challenger report says the 1M mark was reached in September last year and in 2001 August. Last month's surge ended a streak of 5 consecutive sub-100K job-cut months. The lowest figure during the 5-month period was June when 59,715 job cuts were announced... In a new poll of human resources executives conducted by Challenger, more than 3 quarters (78%) did not expect to see any significant up-turn in hiring until the second quarter of 2004. None of the respondents predicted an upturn in the first quarter. 11% said hiring would pick up in the third or fourth quarter. Notably, 11% of those polled said that there would be no hiring rebound at all in 2004."
2003-11-04 11:44PST (14:44EST) (19:44GMT)
William L. Watts _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Appeals court panel hears oral arguments in M$ anti-trust case
"The 6-judge panel, in several series of questions directed at lawyers for the company and the Justice Department, which are defending the settlement; and the state of Massachusetts and trade groups representing M$ competitors, who are challenging the settlement; wrestled with whether M$ should be forced to fully remove the software code from Windows [boxes] instead [of merely making it inactive]."
2003-11-04 14:00PST (17:00EST) (22:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
County to land-owner: You WILL rent to us: Judge orders lease extended despite government's refusal to meet terms
"Citing eminent-domain laws, an Arizona court has forced a land-owner to continue renting space to Maricopa County even though the municipal government failed to agree to terms to extend the lease. Orsett/Columbia Ltd., the owner of a strip mall in West Valley, AZ, has been leasing space to the county for the Peoria Justice Court since 1989, reported the Arizona Republic. The lease expired in July, and the land-owner wanted a 5-year lease extension. The government, however, only wants the space for 2 more years and took the issue to court to force the company to comply with the county's demand."
2003-11-04 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jamie McIntyre & Bill Tucker _CNN_
Iraq, Illegal Aliens, Government Waste
"Well, right now the United States has 132K troops out of the 1.4M in the active duty force... Even in this case [the use of illegal alien contractors at WM], it started, as you say, in 1998... Illegal aliens [occupy] a third of the cells in our federal penitentiaries... the costs exceed $1.4G, and that's just the cost to hold them in prison. And while they were in prison, you'd think we'd identify which ones are illegal aliens. We don't... And 50K criminal aliens have had just that experience. They did their time, and instead of being deported at the end of their sentence, they were simply released back onto the street... This is the new $20 bill. Looks almost like the old $20, yet the federal government is spending $32M tax-payer dollars to advertise the new currency. Another $21M is slated to promote the new $50 and $100. More than 200K tax-payer dollars paid for this peanut festival in Alabama last week-end. More than $1G for agriculture marketing, money that goes to trade groups such as the Watermelon Promotion Board. And $600K to rent a blimp for 3 months to fly over college football games and fares to advertise Medicare's new toll free number... Federal government spending per household is at the highest level since World War II, according to the Heritage Foundation. And it's not just defense spending on the rise. Heritage says non-defense spending is more than 16% of gross domestic product, a near-record high... Enrollment in primary and secondary schools shot up 14% since 1990..."
_National Right to Work Foundation_
Union Faces Suit for Threatening Firings
"Five non-union security officers at the Tampa Federal Court-House today hit the United Government Security Officers of America (UGSOA) union Local 132 with a law-suit for illegally threatening to have them fired for refusing to join or financially support the union."
John Tagliabue _NY Times_
French and Red Chinese TV makers to merge to become biggest in world
"The combined companies would make 18M sets a year and generate annual revenue of $3G... Under the agreement, Thomson would own 33% of the combined company, to be known as TCL-Thomson Electronics, and TCL would own the remaining 67% [giving the Red Chinese government major influence over the industry]... In the first half, its consumer products, like televisions and DVD players, had a net loss of 81M euros ($92.7M). To reverse the loss, Charles Dehelly, who took over as Thomson's chief executive a year ago, has announced 1,200 job cuts in the United States, closing factories in Indiana and Ohio, to shift production to [Red China]."
Ken Dey _Idaho Statesman_
As California businesses make an exodus, Idaho is hoping to lure the firms with the promise of low business operating costs
"Oregon and Nevada have launched campaigns, too... The state estimates that businesses pay $2,546 a year per person in state and local taxes. That means a new company with 50 employees would pay annual taxes of $127,300 -- not to mention the wages earned by those new employees and the money they would spend in the local economy... Intel has 12K employees in California and 15K in Oregon... The one category that really stands out is workers' compensation costs. In Idaho, an electronics company employing 200 people will pay just under $40K a year, while a similar company in California will pay more than $445K a year... California's tax rate is 24% higher than the national average, and workers' compensation rates have increased 4-fold since 1999."
Joseph Kahn _NY Times_
Toxins Are Part of Cost of Boom in Red China's Exports
"He had been sent, unwittingly, to release chemical runoff that Hisun Pharmaceutical had collected haphazardly beneath the factory, possibly to avoid paying fees to dispose of toxic waste... Hisun is one of [Red China's] leading exporters of pharmaceutical products, certified by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European drug commission to sell lifesaving antitumor and cardiovascular medications for prices Western manufacturers cannot match. But the company may pay more attention to fighting cancer in America than to protecting the health of its own workers and neighbors in Taizhou, a seaside industrial city where the air and water bear Hisun's inky signature... Such disregard appears all too common as China booms. The country's economy is growing faster than any other. But the air and water in many of its leading cities rank as the dirtiest in the world, and the number of people who die at work, 11,500 through the first nine months of this year, is far disproportionate to workplace fatalities in other countries."
2003-11-04 17:29PST (20:29EST) (2003-11-05 01:29GMT)
Adam Ashton _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Deer-Related Accidents Cost $1.1G
"Some 150 people die each year in more than 1.5M traffic accidents involving collisions with deer, according to an insurance industry-funded report released Tuesday that puts the economic damage at $1.1G. The study relied on federal and state records as well as academic studies on the issue to develop the national estimates. Researchers hired by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety..."
2004-11-05 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
Ryan Singel _Wired_
US Senate Caves to Banking Interests on Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"Federal law-makers on Tuesday defeated an amendment offered by California's senators which would have turned the state's broad financial privacy protections into a national standard, instead backing weaker rules that would over-ride state laws... The amendment...would have allowed customers to tell their bank or broker not to share personal information such as bank balances, credit card purchases and stock holdings with affiliate companies... Senators Paul Sarbanes, (D-MD) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) led the effort to prevent the grafting of wider protections onto their bill, officially known as the National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act."
2003-11-05 04:46PST (07:46EST) (12:46GMT)
EU slaps $200M tariff on US imports: The EU has said US imports are to face duties of $200M (120 million pounds) from 2004 March
"Initially, the tariffs will be applied at a rate of 5% on up to $4G of goods... The World Trade Organisation (WTO) [granted] the EU the [power] to impose 100% tariffs on more than $4G of US exports after ruling that the US tax breaks were illegal... Meanwhile, the EU has also warned it is considering sanctions on another $2.2G of US goods in a separate dispute over steel imports. The dispute arose after President Bush imposed tariffs of up to 30% in 2002 March in an effort to protect US steel producers from foreign competition... The EU has already drawn up a hit list of US imports worth about $2.2G a year which will be targeted with retaliatory sanctions. The list, which includes Harley Davidson motorcycles, citrus fruit, and textile products, is said to have been calculated so as to hit hardest regions which support President Bush's Republican party."
2003-11-05 14:39:50PST (17:39:50EST) (22:39:50GMT)
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
jobs immigrants won't do
2003-11-05 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Peter Viles _CNN_
"Of the 5.5M American children in grade school or high school, 5.1M attend private schools, but only 15K to 30K, depending on which advocacy group does the math, go to private schools using [vouchers]."
Dan Gillmor _San Jose Mercury News_
Probable last gasp on M$ anti-trust case still matters
"Corporate law-breaking is now so unremarkable, and America's collective attention span so short, that the probable last gasp of the M$ anti-trust case has come and gone without much notice. Maybe you're bored with it, too, but this case still matters. On Tuesday, an appeals court in Washington heard arguments that the so-called 'remedies' for what everyone agrees were illegal acts were not adequate to punish the crime or prevent its recurrence. The state of Massachusetts and 2 technology trade organizations asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to tell U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to stiffen her order that, by virtually all accounts, has led to almost no change of behavior on M$'s part... the appeals court, which had ruled unanimously that M$ was a serial law-breaker."
EU mandates sanctions over US tax scheme
"The European Commission said it was recommending that EU member states impose duties on US goods starting from $200M next March unless the Foreign Sales Corporation (FSC) scheme is repealed. A Commission spokeswoman said the duties would rise by $40M a month if US authorities do not lift the tax break, which has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organisation. The WTO ruled in January last year that the FSC law flouted its rules by allowing thousands of US firms, operating through subsidiaries in off-shore tax havens, to benefit from reduced export taxes."
Synthetic HDL Cholesterol Clears Arteries
"Scientists think a genetic mutation in HDL cholesterol explains the [Italian] villagers' good health [despite high cholesterol levels]. And using a synthetic version of that substance, they were able to reduce fatty artery plaque in just 6 weeks in patients with heart disease... The HDL mutation was found about 25 years ago in 40 residents of the northern Italian village of Limone Sul Garda. The mutation involved a gene variation in a key protein component of HDL. That contributed to larger-than-normal HDL particles, which are believed to make HDL cholesterol especially efficient at removing plaque."
Thomas Sowell _Town Hall_
Spin vs Reality
"The political left is great with words. Conservatives have never been able to come up with such seductive phrases as the left mass produces. While conservatives may talk about a need for 'judicial restraint', liberals cry out for 'social justice'. If someone asks you why they should be in favor of judicial restraint, you have got to sit them down and go into a long explanation about constitutional government and its implications and prerequisites. But 'social justice'? No explanation needed. No definition. No facts. Everybody is for it... The latest verbal coup of the left is the phrase 'a living wage'. Who is so hard-hearted or mean-spirited that they do not want people to be able to make enough money to live on? Unfortunately, the effort and talent that the left puts into coining great phrases is seldom put into facts or analysis... According to a recent study by the Cato Institute, fewer than 1 out of 5 minimum wage workers has a family to support. These are usually young people just starting out... Most studies of minimum wage laws in countries around the world show that fewer people are employed at artificially higher wage rates. Moreover, unemployment falls disproportionately on lower skilled workers, younger and inexperienced workers, and workers from minority groups. The new Cato Institute study [by Carl F. Horowitz] cites data showing job losses in places where living wage laws have been imposed... Making anything more expensive almost invariably leads to fewer purchases. That includes labor."
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
Illegally in US and Never a Day Off at Wal-Mart
"They came from Russia, Poland and Lithuania, and their tales of washing and waxing Wal-Mart's floors for 7 nights a week... But 2 federal law enforcement officials said in interviews that Wal-Mart executives must have known about the immigration violations because federal agents rounded up 102 illegal immigrant janitors at Wal-Marts in 1998 and 2001. In the October raid, federal agents searched the office of an executive at Wal-Mart's headquarters, carting away boxes of papers. Federal officials said prosecutors had wiretaps and recordings of conversations between Wal-Mart officials and sub-contractors. The use of illegal workers appeared to benefit Wal-Mart, its share-holders and managers by minimizing the company's costs, and it benefited consumers by helping hold down Wal-Mart's prices. Cleaning contractors profited, and thousands of foreign workers were able to earn more than they could back home... Foreigners got jobs that Americans might have wanted. And tax-payers sometimes ended up paying for the illegal workers' emergency health care or their children's education in American schools."
Robert Pear _NY Times_
Report Cites Danger in Long Nurses' Hours
"Many hospitals and nursing homes are endangering patients by allowing or requiring nurses to work more than 12 hours a day, the National Academy of Sciences said on Tuesday. Such long hours cause fatigue, reduce productivity and increase the risk that the nurses will make mistakes that harm patients, the academy said in a new report commissioned by the federal government... The academy said the nation's 2.8M licensed nurses and 2.3M nursing assistants accounted for 54% of health care workers."
David Lazarus _San Francisco Chronicle_
Crucial PG&E design information goes to Thailand
"Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been quietly out-sourcing critical design work as part of an overhaul of California's aging power grid, and some of the work is heading as far off as Thailand. This, say security experts and insiders at the utility, is a reason for Californians to worry... According to insiders and confidential company documents, PG&E has out-sourced design and drawing work to nearly a dozen contractors over the past few years. The largest recipient of the utility's contracts, Kansas City engineering giant Black & Veatch, is in turn exporting a portion of its work to engineers in Bangkok."
2003-11-06 05:38PST (08:38EST) (13:38GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims at pre-recession level: Last week's claims were lowest of Bush's presidency
"The [seasonally adjusted] average weekly number of new claims over the past 4 weeks fell by 10K to 380K, the lowest since the week of 2001 March 10, the month the 9-month recession began. Read the full releases. The number of new claims in the week ending November 1 plunged by 43K to 348K, the lowest level since George W. Bush was inaugurated on 2001 January 20... The effects of a strike by grocery workers in California probably contributed about 10K at most to the decline in the most recent week, a Labor Department spokesman said. Some striking workers filed for claims in the prior week, adding to initial claims in that week, he said... Meanwhile, the average number of continuing claims for state unemployment benefits over the past 4 weeks fell by about 25K to 3.54M, the lowest since April. The continuing-claims figures do not include some 825K workers receiving federal unemployment benefits... the Labor Department said productivity surged at an 8.1% annual rate in the third quarter. Unit labor costs fell 4.6%. See full story. Employers are able to get as much work out of 953 workers now as they got out of 1K a year ago."
2003-11-06 05:40PST (08:40EST) (13:40GMT)
Unemployment compensation insurance claims plunge, lowest since early 2001
"In another sign suggesting labor-market improvement, the number of American who continued to file claims after receiving an initial week of benefits dropped 22K to 3.51M... Despite that, the economy shed 41K non-farm jobs as gains in productivity enabled firms to meet increased demand for goods and services without expanding their work-force. The Labor Department said Thursday non-farm business productivity climbed at an 8.1% annual rate in the third quarter, accelerating from an upwardly revised 7.0% gain in the prior 3 months. The increase reflected a rise in output that was the strongest in more than 10 years, and only a small increase in the number of hours workers put in on the job. The productivity gain pushed unit labor costs -- a gauge of potential wage pressures -- down at a 4.6% pace, suggesting a good quarterly performance for corporate profit."
2003-11-06 08:37PST (11:37EST) (16:37GMT)
George W. Bush speech to National Endowment for Democracy
"in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty... We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom -- the freedom we prize -- is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind."
2003-11-06 12:06PST (15:06EST) (20:06GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Salary gloom ahead for IT workers
"The starting salaries of U.S. information technology workers are projected to fall an average of 1.6% next year, according to a new study by Robert Half Technology... Earlier this year, economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute found that inflation-adjusted wages for professional and technical workers had fallen and that unemployment for mathematicians and computer scientists had risen to its highest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting that data in 1982. What's more, the American Electronics Association trade group said in a report this year that the U.S. high-tech industry had trimmed its work force by 10% -- to 5.1M jobs -- between 2001 January and 2002 December."
2003-11-06 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jamie McIntyre & Peter Viles & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
Iraq deployments, Employment, Illegal Aliens, Americans Working Harder than Ever
"The Pentagon today announced details of its plans to send almost 130K new troops to Iraq... there are about 132K troops in Iraq now. And under the Pentagon plan, by May of next year, that would be down to about 105K troops, assuming the security permits it... Altogether, some 43K Guard and Reserve troops are getting the call... the Pentagon today agreed to a compromise plan that would provide the Air Force with 100 new refueling tanker air-craft. The Air Force will lease 20 Boeing 767 tankers and buy, purchase, 80 more. The Pentagon originally had wanted to lease all of those 100 air-craft. The plan was thrown out after protests from Congress about the high costs of leasing. Today's deal will cut overall cost of the program from $21G to about $17G... The employment level for those born in the United States fell by 800K... Those illegal workers, like the 250  arrested at Wal-Mart stores last month, are covered by some American labor laws, including time-and-a-half pay for over-time. Says the Department of Labor -- quote -- 'The department's Wage and Hour Division will continue to enforce the Fair Labor Standards Act without regard to whether an employee is documented or undocumented.'... those 250  Wal-Mart workers can sue for back pay under American labor laws at the same time they're being deported under American immigration laws... Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman: 'An unusual amount of caution is leading businesses to press workers and facilities to a greater degree than can be sustained over the long haul.'... one private survey of 700 companies shows, workers average 44-hour work weeks. Economists say employees are often pushed to work longer hours after off the books... Americans get fewer vacation days than workers in other countries, often less than half of what other workers enjoy in Europe and Japan... 56%of Americans now admit to postponing even those vacation days, for fear of losing their jobs... 63% of workers admit to extremely high levels of stress. That's up 15% in just the last 6 months... this country spends $470G on education each and every year... [Former] Motorola CEO Christopher Galvin, he will consult for at least $1.9M a year for the next 2 years. Under his tenure at Motorola, the stock fell 47%, debt doubled, sales fell and thousands of jobs were cut. He will be staying on for 2 more years as a consultant because of the contract he had already signed with the company."
Michel Marriott _NY Times_
Laser-scanners and rapid prototyping help toy makers create figures from movies
"A 360-degree laser scanner captured precise 3-dimensional measurements of the real Mr. Schwarzenegger and then translated the data into a model of the character made by a rapid prototyping machine, a sort of printer that cranks out 3-D physical objects rather than simply documents. Human hands join the process only later, refining the model into a mold to cast the scaled-down Terminators... the toys, which are themselves decidedly low-tech and usually cost $8 to $30. Perhaps more important, he said, 'it shortens the production time and ultimately lowers costs', when compared with traditional sculpturing based on reference photographs of the subject... Rapid prototyping works equally well in bringing to life characters and objects that never existed in 3-dimensional space, said Karl Meyer, founder and president of Gentle Giant Studios of Burbank, CA, the leading scanning company for Hollywood special effects and toys... 'You used to have to spend $30K to $80K or more and use a Silicon Graphics work-station.', he said. 'Now you can get a [micro-computer] off the shelf and soup it up for under $10K to run all the 3-D modeling software.' The actual rapid prototyping machines are still expensive, Mr. Meyer said, adding that his company had 6 ranging in cost from $50K to $200K."
2003-11-07 06:51PST (09:51EST) (14:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US job growth surges by 126K: Jobless rate falls to 6% after 3 months of job gains
"The U.S. economy added 126K [seasonally adjusted] non-farm pay-roll jobs in October after a revised gain of 125K in September, more than double the 57K originally reported, the agency said in its closely watched employment report. Read the full report. And August's 41K-job loss was revised to a gain of 35K. All told, the economy created 286K jobs in the past 3 months. The nation's unemployment rate sank to 6%, the lowest rate since April, the department said. Total hours worked in the economy rose 0.4% to the highest level since January... Economists say the economy needs to add at least 150K jobs a month to absorb the population growth and bring the unemployment rate down... Strikes by grocery workers in Missouri and California actually added about 15K to 20K jobs in October, as both striking workers and their replacements were counted. October's average work-week rose by 6 minutes to 33.8 hours, the highest since March. The average work-week in manufacturing held steady at 40.5 hours, with 4.2 hours of over-time. Average hourly earnings rose 1 cent, or 0.1%, to $15.46. Wages have risen 2.4% on a year-over-year basis, the lowest since 1994."
2003-11-07 12:21PST (15:21EST) (20:21GMT)
Government drops charges against former K-Mart execs
"Federal prosecutors dropped charges Friday against 2 former Kmart executives on trial on charges they falsified the books at the discount-store chain. 'The government believes that it is more likely than not that the evidence will not sustain a conviction.', prosecutor Stephen Robinson said in asking U.S. District Judge Paul Borman to dismiss the charges. Borman approved the request. Enio A. 'Tony' Montini Jr. and Joseph Hofmeister were accused of securities fraud, making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission and conspiracy."
2003-11-07 13:50PST (16:50EST) (21:50GMT)
Michael Baron _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
stock markets fall in final hour
"The Dow added roughly 500 points in October, and had tacked on another 100 points at its height earlier Friday... The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 47.18 points, or 0.5%, to close at 9,809.79, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 5.63 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 1,970.74. The blue-chip barometer rose as high as 9,903.57 in intraday trading, edging above the 9,900 level for the first time since 2002 June. And the Nasdaq Composite got within 8 points of 2,000, a height it hasn't reached since 2002 January. It peaked at 1,992.27. At their lows, the indexes slipped to 9,798.61 and 1,968.81, respectively. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index tumbled 0.5% to 1,053.21, while the Russell 2000 Index of small-cap stocks managed a fractional gain and closed at 542.96."
David R. Francis & Amanda Paulson_Christian Science Monitor_/_abc News_
Amvericans may love cheap imports but they're also growing concerned about losing jobs to cheap over-seas labor
"'I see no value from opening these [foreign] markets.', says Ben Connolly, a software developer in Newton, PA. 'I don't see us getting more jobs.' Married with 2 children, Connolly was laid off for most of 2000. He blames it partly on the stock market bubble, but adds that 'free trade hasn't helped'. In Congress, rising protectionist sentiments have resulted in 10 bills or resolutions attacking [Red China's] 'unfair' trade practices and 'over-valued' currency. None, though, is expected to pass. That reflects a long-standing view that the benefits of trade as an engine of growth outweigh the costs."
Mary Houlihan _Chicago Sun-Times_
Low-wage tale makes for high drama
"At first glance this dramatic, interesting and forthright under-cover work [Barbara Ehrenreich's _Nickel & Dimed_] might seem the perfect candidate for a theatrical rendering. But according to Joan Holden, the San Francisco play-wright tapped for the task, it proved to be much harder than it looked."
Video Games on the Job Boost Productivity
"University of Utrecht researchers studied the effects of game playing on 60 employees in a Dutch insurance firm, the BBC reported Friday. The team measured changes in work and job attitudes and found game players felt better about their jobs."
_National Center for Policy Analysis_
Scientist Shortage Studies are Hokum
Lee Price & Yulis Fungard _Economic Policy Institute_
Understanding the severity of the current labor slump (with graphs & tables)
Leigh Strope _Chicago Sun-Times_/_AP_
300K new jobs in 3 months
_Salt Lake Tribune_
_Ocala Florida Star-Banner_
_Nashua New Hampshire Telegraph_
_San Francisco Chronicle_
_San Jose Mercury News_
_Lakeland Florida Ledger_
"The Labor Department reported Friday that pay-rolls grew by 126K last month, more than economists had predicted. That followed a revised 125K new jobs in September, more than double what initially was reported. U.S. companies added 35K to their pay-rolls in August... The new jobs added last month mostly were in lower-paying industries such as retail and temporary employment firms. Average weekly earnings in those sectors are $366 and $318 respectively, said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, an employment research and recruiting firm. The national average is $521 per week. Also, 1.4M workers were only able to find part-time work, up 27% from a year ago. To make ends meet, 7.5M Americans worked 2 or more jobs last month, up from 7.3M a year ago. One of 4 people out of work last month were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. Nearly half of those were white-collar workers in management, professional, sales and office jobs, Challenger said."
David Leonhardt _NY Times_
3 Months of Job Growth Best in 3 Years
"The longest hiring slump in more than 60 years appears to be finally ending... The number of people working part time because they could not find full-time work fell by 139K, to 4.8M."
David Sharp _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Bread-makers Feel Pain from Atkins Diet
"overall bread sales are flat or down slightly, while bread-bashing seems to be at an all-time high. A sign in Stephen Lanzalotta's bakery reads, 'Senza il pane tutto diventa orfano.'. In Italian, that means, 'Without bread everyone's an orphan.'... The National Bread Leadership Council, which says 40% of Americans are eating less bread than a year ago, has scheduled what it calls a summit this month in Rhode Island focusing in part on low-carb diets and how to educate the public that breaking bread is still part of a healthy life-style."
Nic Hopkins _Times of London_
Intel boss focuses on challenge from emerging markets
"The event occupying the mind of Barrett, the head of the worldís biggest maker of microchips, is the entry of hundreds of millions of people into the digital age. He says: 'In the past few years we have had the entry into the global technology market-place of India and [Red China] and the Arab world. If you take that 3G people, and think that maybe only even 10% of them are educated to a high level, that's still 300M highly educated people. We have never before had an influx of that many educated people into the market. It's a disruptive influence.'... Barrett, who now lives in Arizona, blames political mismanagement of the California economy for encouraging Intel and other high-tech businesses to leave the state. Oregon, on the northern border of California, has supplanted California as the state boasting the largest number of Intel's 79K employees."
2003-11-09 04:49PST (07:49EST) (12:49GMT)
Reed Stevenson _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
Can You Hear the Sound of Computing Silence?
"Typically, PCs have several noise sources. The power unit that provides power to the mother-board, hard drive and other components all emit noise. Fast central processing units (CPUs), as well as some types of video cards also have their own fans that cause noise, while hard drives and CD-ROM drives also emit whirring and mechanical noises... A typical brand new silent [micro-computer] will include a power unit designed to be barely audible, a slower-spinning CPU fan with a large radiator to dissipate heat more efficiently, and drives that are designed to be quieter. The [micro-computer] case, which usually has its own fan to keep air circulating within the box, comes without a fan but is instead bigger so that air can escape before it over-heats the components. Other exotic materials include noise dampening material for the walls of the case, specially designed cables to maximize air-flow and cases to enclose hard drives. Typically, these PCs can drop their noise levels to 25 or 26 decibels, while a human's lowest hearing threshold is generally considered to be about 20 decibels. A busy road is about 80 decibels and a quiet bed-room at night is about 30 decibels. The typical silent treatment raises a [micro-computer]'s cost by about $150, according to Schoenborn."
Aaron Davis _San Jose Mercury News_
Indian software developers calling the shots
"Much like Silicon Valley during the boom, software giant Oracle is constantly scouting India's top tech schools, offering free cars, housing allowances and flexible work schedules to the country's best and brightest engineers... Oracle formed its Indian subsidiary in 1993."
Greg Winter _NY Times_
Rich Colleges Receiving Richest Share of US Government Aid (with table/graph)
"Far fewer of its [Stanford's] students are poor, yet the federal government gives it about 7 times as much money to help each one of them through college under one program, 28 times as much in another and almost 100 times as much in a third, government data show [as compared to California State University at Fresno]... Brown, for example, got $169.23 for every student who merely applied for financial aid in order to run its low-interest Perkins loan program in the 2000-1 academic year. Dartmouth got $174.88; Stanford, $211.80. But most universities did not get nearly that much: the median for the nation's colleges was $14.38, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data on the more than 4K colleges and universities that receive some form of federal aid. Nearly 200 colleges received less than $3 per applicant for financial aid. The University of Wisconsin at Madison got 21 cents. Harvard, Princeton, Yale -- and all the other members of the Ivy League, for that matter -- were also given 5 to 8 times the median to pay their students in work-study jobs... For every Pell dollar one of its students received in the 2000-1 academic year (and they could each get up to $4K), the median college got an extra 7 cents. Harvard got 98 cents. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology got $1.09 [extra]. Princeton got $1.42 [extra]. At the other end of the scale sit institutions like the City Uiversity of New York, which had the most financial aid applicants in the nation that year. It got 4 cents [extra] on the dollar. More than 50 colleges got a penny [extra]... Then there is the money that campuses receive to place students in work-study jobs. For each of its aid applicants, the median college got $87.67 to help pay wages. Yale got $592.75. Duke got $600.28. Columbia got $677.93. But nearly 100 other colleges got less than $20."
Bill Cotterell _Tallahassee Democrat_
Migrants fill allegedly unwanted jobs: Activists pushing to legalize illegal immigrant workers
"Quincy's mayor and a Tallahassee immigration lawyer said the 125K field workers and laborers from Mexico and other Central American countries who pass through the Big Bend are filling jobs that few citizens want. The threat of terrorism has caused law-enforcement agencies to increase their round-ups of people who are illegally in the country, but advocates for the migrant workers said the laws of supply and demand will keep them coming... Evelia Menjivar, state director of the United Farm Workers of America, said her union and other activist organizations want Congress to "legalize" people who are working in the country illegally... But Menjivar said big agriculture companies, nursery companies and other employers of migrants are siding with the farmworkers union and Hispanic organizations in favor of legal status."
Stacey Hirsh _Seattle Times_/_Baltimore Sun_/_Jacksonville Florida Times-Union_
Work-place grumbles, anxieties have grown
"In various surveys, workers are registering the highest levels of job dissatisfaction in years. With job creation plodding along and corporate America unsettled by mergers and technological change, workers say they feel more unease and face fewer options to move around. Pay-raise growth is slow, health-care costs are up and headlines about executive greed fuel frustration. Companies, meanwhile, uncertain of reports of the economy's comeback, have been hesitant to hire. The added work often falls on the shoulders of employees who remain... A sense of job permanence and solid pay has eroded with the shift from manufacturing to a service economy, dominated by low-paying jobs at stores and fast-food chains. Anxiety has been compounded by anger over the division of riches: Top executives average more than 500 times what average workers earn per year, far greater than the 40-times multiple between top and bottom pay 3 decades ago. 'I think what you've seen in the last 15 to 20 years is just an avarice that we haven't seen since the late 1800s.', said Charles Craver, a labor-law professor."
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
9 Mexican Illegal Immigrants Who Had Been Arrested in Raid File Law-Suit Against Wal-Mart
"9 Mexican immigrants who worked as janitors at Wal-Marts in New Jersey sued the company on Wednesday, accusing Wal-Mart and its cleaning contractors of failing to pay over-time, withhold taxes and make required workers' compensation contributions. The plaintiffs, who face deportation for being in the country illegally, also accuse Wal-Mart and its contractors of discriminating against them by giving them lower wages and fewer benefits than other workers because of their national origin."
Howard Wolinsky _Chicago Sun-Times_
RFID chipping away at your privacy
"RFID chips could... let anyone with a scanning device know what kind of under-wear you have on and how much money is in your wallet... WM, the world's largest retailer, has required that its top 100 suppliers tag their products by 2005... At a current price of 50 cents to $1.50 for each chip... Kevin Ashton, director of the Auto-ID Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, forecasts that item tagging will become common in the United States between 2007 and 2010. Some retailers in Britain and Germany already are testing tags on individual products. The Auto-ID Center was founded in 1999 to develop RFID technology... Tagging individuals items 'only becomes helpful if you want to register individual items to individuals.', said Albrecht, who heads the New Hampshire-based privacy rights group CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)... When she tested a system with a reader in a back-pack, 'I personally had a read range of over 15 feet on the thing.', she said... P&G and WM store did secret [4-month] test of RFID... In the study, uncovered by the Chicago Sun-Times, shelves in a WM in Broken Arrow, OK, were equipped with hidden electronics to track the Max Factor Lipfinity lipstick containers stacked on them. The shelves and Webcam images were viewed 750 miles away by Procter & Gamble researchers in Cincinnati who could tell when lipsticks were removed from the shelves and could even watch consumers in action... Researchers concealed readers in contact paper placed under the shelves and embedded RFID antenna chips in Lipfinity packaging."
Kathy Schrenk _San Francisco Examiner_
Privacy violation schemer wants to cut workmen's comp
"Poizner founded a company called SnapTrack that he sold to Qualcomm in 2000. SnapTrack developed technology that makes it possible for 911 dispatchers to track cell phone locations, according to his campaign... He intends to make things easier for California businesses, he said, which will be beneficial for schools... This means easing workers compensation and health care costs for employers, he added. Poizner cited Intel as a symptom of the problem. The company CEO recently announced that the company wouldn't expand its employee base in California because of the costs and difficulties of doing business here, Poizner said. The company now employs more people in Oregon than California, he added."
Leave the Office Earlier
"Americans gave back $21G in unused vacation last year, up 10% from the previous year. What's more, 63% said they worked more than 40 hours a week, according to the survey."
Tom McHenry _The Purdue Exponent_
"'McJob, noun: a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement.' - Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition... McJob has been with us, according to Merriam-Webster, since 1986. Still, according to a letter sent to the Associated Press by McDonald's CEO Jim Cantalupo, this is an insult to the 12M Americans who work in restaurants and it incorrectly portrays restaurant employment. Cantalupo overlooks the fact that it was probably one of those 12M Americans that invented the word. One of those 12M Americans who resents the fact he doesn't get to be rich and famous but will work in a restaurant until he dies. There is a strange new Lost Generation out there, graduating college only to work in jobs they could have had in high school... We let our parents inflate the idea of college into a safety net -- a dream. If you had a college degree in their generation, it seemed youíd never lack work. But now everyone has a college degree. Writing that you have a college degree on your application is the same thing as writing that you're a carbon-based life form or you breathe oxygen. A college degree isn't enough -- a college degree doesn't compete."
2003-11-10 05:23PST (08:23EST) (13:23GMT)
US Government Loses Appeal on Steel Duties
"The World Trade Organization (WTO), in a final ruling, on Monday rejected an appeal by Washington against an earlier finding that hefty U.S. steel import duties violate international trade rules, diplomats said."
2003-11-10 12:43PST (15:43EST) (20:43GMT)
Rachel Konrad _San Diego Union-Tribune_/_AP_
Red Chinese economic espionage in Silicon Valley case to go to jury trial
"San Jose-area businessmen Fei Ye and Ming Zhong were arrested in 2001 November at San Francisco International Airport with suitcases allegedly crammed with trade secrets and at least $10K in equipment stolen from U.S. tech companies. Prosecutors said the men ñ both originally from [Red China] -- stole micro-chip blue-prints and computer aided design scripts from Sun Microsystems Inc., NEC Electronics Corp., Transmeta Corp. and Trident Microsystems Inc., and they planned to start a micro-processor company with the [Red Chinese] government... A PricewaterhouseCoopers study determined that trade secret theft costs the nation's 1K largest companies more than $45G per year, but few executives know when data has been stolen ñ and even fewer are willing to admit it. If convicted, Ye and Zhong could face up to 95 years in prison and $3M in fines on 10 criminal counts."
2003-11-10 13:10PST (16:10EST) (21:10GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
WTO rejects US appeal on steel: increased pressure to drop tariffs
"The World Trade Organization has issued a final ruling that steel tariffs imposed by the White House last year are in violation of global trade rules, increasing pressure on President Bush to lift the tariffs half way through their 3-year term or risk a full-fledged trade war... The report 'leaves the United States with no other choice but to terminate its WTO incompatible safe-guard measures without delay', the EU said in a joint-statement with Brazil, [Red China], Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland. The Bush administration continues to believe the so-called 'safe-guard measures' designed to give 'breathing space' for ailing steel manufacturers are allowed under the rules of the Geneva-based trade body... The 3-year tariffs, initially imposed in 2002 March, ranged from 8% to 30%. They were lowered after 1 year and are to be reduced again next March if they have not already been eliminated... 'BMW is one of 330 foreign companies that operate in South Carolina and employ some 80K workers.', McClellan said, adding 'The export of U.S. goods and services supports at least 12M American jobs, including 1 in 5 manufacturing jobs in the country.'... 'The WTO has ruled against every safeguard action instituted by any WTO-member country.', said Thomas Usher, chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corporation."
2003-11-10 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
"And the trade deficit with [Red China] will reach $130G this year. As many as two million Americans have lost their jobs to [Red China]. Commerce Secretary Don Evans will join me to tell us what the administration is doing to cut the deficit and to save jobs... it is called the race to the bottom. There is competition to get the lowest prices for the products. But the American worker is the loser in this race... 99% of all Nike sneakers are made in Asia in factories like this one in [Red China]. At the Gap, 95% of products made in [Red China] and 50 other countries... J. Crew...80% made in Asia. Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world and the largest importer of goods made from [Red China], $12G worth a year... The National Labor Committee has found, in some extreme cases, [Red Chinese] workers making just 3 cents an hour. A comparative retailing study by a private research group found U.S. workers making $8 an hour, while they were making $1.15 in the Dominican Republic, 85 cents in Mexico, 65 cents in Thailand, and 15 cents an hour in Indonesia... Now, the pressure has been on retailers to monitor working conditions. And many major retailers have joined the Fair Labor Association to work with the governments to improve working conditions abroad... [Coyotes] used to charge $200 a person. But because of stepped-up border patrols, the cost has gone up as high as $2K a person... Last Tuesday, on Interstate 10 in Arizona, smugglers opened fire on a rival group. Four people were killed and five injured... Don Evans, Commerce Secretary: ' I delivered a very strong message to them that -- that -- Look, we love competition in America. We're the best competitors in the world. But we're going demand a level of playing field. We're going to demand that our competitors and our workers here in America are on the same -- are on a level playing field with everybody else in the world. And what I talked about when I was in [Red China] was their lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights. What I talked about in [Red China] was a continuing subsidies that enterprises receive from state- owned banks. What I talked about in [Red China] were -- were nonperforming loans in their banks, some of the official numbers, 30%. I think it is probably closer to 50%. And what I talked about in [Red China] was the importance of them continuing to pick up the pace of meeting their WTO obligations and opening up their markets to American workers and American products... Over the last 20 years, we've created some 40M new net jobs. To give you the example over the last 10 years, we created about 342M new jobs, we lost 324M jobs, for a net gain of 18M jobs.'"
Naomi Koppel _AP_/_Yahoo!_
US Faces Up to $2.2G in EU Sanctions
"When his administration introduced the duties, Bush claimed they were justified to protect domestic steel producers during a period of restructuring. But the complainants said Washington failed to prove that its industry had been harmed by a sudden flood of cheap imports -- a condition for imposing such duties under WTO rules -- and that it had unfairly excluded imports from the countries with which the United States had free trade agreements at the time -- Canada, Mexico, Israel and Jordan... The European Union plans to target its tariffs at goods that are produced in important swing states in the 2004 presidential election. It says it will start retaliating if the U.S. steel duties are still in place 5 days after the report has been formally adopted by the WTO, which must happen within 30 days... In addition to the European Union, complaints were filed by Japan, South Korea, Norway, Switzerland, [Red China], New Zealand and Brazil. All of those countries also could now seek to impose sanctions on U.S. imports if the duties are not removed, and Tokyo already has warned it may retaliate."
Anne Gearan _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Supreme Court to Hear Guantanamo Appeals
"The Supreme Court will hear its first case arising from the government's anti-terrorism campaign following the September 11 attacks, agreeing Monday to consider whether foreigners held at a U.S. Navy base in Cuba should have access to American courts."
Steve Giegerich _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Salaries of College Presidents Rising
Chronicle of Higher Education
"While tuition costs keep on rising, so do the salaries of college presidents. A survey of college presidential salaries revealed Monday that the compensation packages given the leaders of 4 private universities in the 2002 fiscal year topped $800K. The Chronicle of Higher Education's annual salary report also said that the top officials at 12 public schools are scheduled to earn more than $500K in 2003-2004. With an annual package of salary and benefits totaling $891,400, Shirley Ann Jackson, the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, was the top earner among college presidents last year, the Chronicle said. The Chronicle said that doesn't include Jackson's compensation for serving on 8 corporate boards, which adds an additional $591K to her annual income."
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
2 Sides Seem Entrenched in SuperMarket Dispute
"she would need help from welfare to make ends meet if Southern California's 3 largest grocery chains won their 4-week-old battle with 70K workers... On one side is the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which for over 60 years has obtained such good wages and benefits that the region's supermarket workers can lay claim to being part of the middle class, or at least the lower rungs of the middle class. The workers' pay ranges from $7.40 an hour for baggers with 30 months on the job to a $17.90 maximum for cashiers... The grocery chains involved -- Albertsons; Vons, owned by Safeway; and Ralphs, owned by Kroger -- lost more than $131M in sales in each of the show-down's first weeks, according to Merrill Lynch... sales have dropped by two-thirds... concessions demanded by management: a 2-year freeze on raises for current workers, a requirement that workers pay $780 in annual premiums for family health coverage, and a cap on annual employer health contributions, which would most likely cause a decrease in benefits... The proposed [2-tier arrangement] calls for paying new cashiers $10 an hour after 30 months on the job, 44% lower than the $17.90 under the old contract, union officials say. Newly hired cashiers would eventually rise to $15.10 an hour, but only after 8 years on the job... a striker behind her carried a sign reading, 'Don't Let Us Become Another Wal-Mart.'. The 3 chains have said that they need concessions because mighty Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, will soon open the first of 40 grocery-selling super-centers planned for Southern California over the next 5 years. WM's grocery workers average less than $9 an hour."
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
2 Sides Seem Entrenched in SuperMarket Dispute
"Some consumer products companies will have to invest millions of dollars to comply with WM's drive to have every carton and palette it receives carry a radio identification tag, according to a report to be released today by A.T. Kearney, a consulting firm... Wal-Mart said in June that it expected its top 100 suppliers to adopt the technology by the end of 2004 and the rest of its suppliers to do so in 2005. In late September, the Department of Defense said it would also require major suppliers to use such tags by the end of 2004... Kearney estimated that major retailers would have to invest $400K at each distribution center and $100K at each store to read and manage the data. A major chain might have to spend $35M to $40M to integrate the information into its reporting systems, which will be needed to gain much of the potential savings... A grocery manufacturer with $5G in sales could use more than 220M tags annually, which would cost $33M at current prices of around 15 cents a tag. If tag prices tumble to 5 cents each as volume grows, the out-lay would still be $11M."
Welfare Reform for Farmers
"Tax-payer hand-outs amount to almost half of the total net income for American farmers, but two-thirds get no subsidy. Among those who do, the top 10% receive 65% of all payments, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group."
Kent Hoover _Boston Massachusetts Business Journal_
Governments to out-source billions in IT
"State and local governments will out-source $23G worth of information technology work by 2008, compared with $10G in IT out-sourcing this year, according to a report by Input, a Reston, VA-based market research firm. The growth will be fueled by a shortage of experienced government IT workers, the need to replace out-dated computer systems and slow revenue growth, Input states."
Samrat Upadhyay _NY Times_
Dark Days in Nepal
"For 7 years, Maoist rebels have been waging a 'people's war' that has turned this once-peaceful nation of 25M, Lord Buddha's birth-place, into a killing field with thousands dead. In language that frighteningly invokes Pol Pot's Cambodia, they've vowed to kill millions more and 'hoist the hammer and sickle atop Mount Everest'. In August, after a seven-month cease-fire that allowed them to regroup, the Maoists began striking fiercely, and most Nepalis fear what will happen if they win. If Nepal turns into a Maoist totalitarian state, it could alter the security balance throughout South Asia."
Douglas Hanks _Miami Herald_
GM tops list of FTAA private-sector donors
"The Cadillac-maker's $250K cash donation is the largest on a tally of 49 private-sector gifts totaling $1.6M -- less than half of the $3.6M tab for the week-long gathering for the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas treaty... The documents show nearly $800K budgeted for food and drinks, including almost $175K for Vizcaya, where organizers will fete trade ministers at an evening reception. Charles Cobb, the former ambassador heading the effort, said other logistics related to the trade talks are included in the $800K food-and-beverages category."
Doug Bedell _Dallas Texas Morning News_/_Salt Lake Tribune_
Gadgets can ferret out the spy in your bed-room
"With their $34.95 Bugscanner, the 2 partners say, a person can sweep public restrooms and other locations where they could be secretly watched... All hidden video doesn't transmit in the frequency detected by hand-held security scanners, he noted. For his work, Cauley uses a $42K bug detector. 'And sometimes it doesn't work at all on some types of transmissions.', he said."
Paul McDougall _Information Week_
Circuit City Out-Sources, Off-Shores HR Administration
"Consumer electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc. is handing off the management of its human-resources administration to out-sourcing vendor Exult Inc. under a deal disclosed Monday. Under the 7-year agreement, Exult will provide pay-roll, benefits administration, compensation, and employee contact-center services for 38K Circuit City employees. Exult will manage the services from facilities in Charlotte, NC, and Mumbai, India. An Exult spokesman says the contract is worth several million dollars but declined to be more specific."
Victor Godinez _Miami Florida Herald_/_Dallas Morning News_/_UPI_
More workers forced to turn free-lance in jittery job market: The self-employed historically make up about 7% of the US labor force but that could grow to as much as 10% over the next several years, said Ed Potter, president of the Employment Policy Foundation, a data research organization in Washington, DC
"To cut costs by not paying benefits, more U.S. employers are using independent contractors or free-lancers [i.e. they're bodyshopping]... most of the employers he talks with aren't looking for full-time workers. They want contractors -- independent workers who are paid by the assignment... The rising cost of supporting a full-time work-force, diminishing worker-employer loyalty and the proliferation of technology are contributing to what may be a permanent shift away from the traditional employment model... 10% equates to millions of workers in a labor force of 146M... At the same time, employers are reeling from the escalating cost of hiring and maintaining full-time employees, according to Mike Davis, a professor of economics at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas... Defining the exact number of independent contractors is difficult because of how data on government jobs are collected. But Pink's estimates, which include temporary workers, are higher than those of the Employment Policy Foundation. He calculates that there are slightly more than 30M 'free agents' in the labor force of 146M [or over 20%]."
Alan Tonelson _Trade Alert_
High-Tech Jobs: Another Industry Races to the Bottom
"For years, globalization cheer-leaders described the hemorrhage of manufacturing jobs as acceptable and even welcome because American workers would be retrained for the higher-paying, knowledge-based 'industries of the future' -- especially the research and development, design, and engineering needed to produce cutting edge goods and services. Starting during the tech boom, though, U.S. technology companies made clear that the 'higher paying' part wasn't on their agenda. By pumping up the number of technologically skilled immigrants allowed into the country and out-sourcing growing numbers of tech jobs abroad, these firms are well on their way to guaranteeing that whatever jobs of the future remain in America pay as little as possible... This, then, is the answer that globalization cheer-leaders have for high tech job flight: Cut high tech pay, cut health care systems to pre-1930s levels, promise all American workers that they can become another Einstein or Gates, and spend who knows how much money on this fool's quest. Spreading this clap-trap is contemptible. Taking it lying down would be unforgivable."
Dan Verton _ComputerWorld_
Corporate CyberSecurity Bill Tabled after Vendor Pressure
"Representative Adam Putnam last week shied away from introducing legislation that would have required companies to conduct independent security audits and detail the results in their annual reports. The retreat was a result of pressure from industry groups representing large hardware and software vendors. Rather than introducing the Corporate Information Security Accountability Act of 2003, Putnam (R-Fla.) tabled the bill and challenged industry organizations to come up with an alternative proposal within 90 days. A working group of representatives from the Information Technology Association of America, the Business Software Alliance, the Business Roundtable (BRT), the SANS Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held its first meeting last week."
2003-11-11 07:01PST (10:01EST) (15:01GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Pain at work costs $61G: JAMA: Head-aches & back woes slash productivity
"Many U.S. employees... have aches serious enough to keep them from being efficient on the job, according to an article in the November 12 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Almost 13% lose productive time because of everyday pains, costing employers an estimated $61.2G a year. The most common culprit was head-aches, which caused 5.4% of lost time, followed by sore backs at 3.2%, said the study, which measured nearly 29K adults over a 2-week period. Arthritis and other muscular-skeletal pain each accounted for 2%. Despite the toll taken on employers, pain-related work absences weren't the major cause of productivity loss. About 77% of lost time came from reduced performance while on the job, which is often invisible, said Walter Stewart, the study's lead author and director of the Center for Health Research and Rural Advocacy at Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA."
2003-11-11 10:16PST (13:16EST) (18:16GMT)
Jennifer Waters _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Chain stores see first signs of holiday spending
"Consumers are turning their attention to holiday buying, according to last week's chain-store sales results. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi-UBS index stepped up 1.2% over the prior week, the first significant increase in spending since early October... Meanwhile, grocery-store stocks suffered as labor strikes in California and the Midwest dragged on. Merrill Lynch analyst Mark Husson thinks investors' reaction is over-done, as is the credit -- or blame -- that WM Stores gets for poor results from the segment. Barry said he's 'convinced the market is over-estimating the impact of Wal-Mart on sales and earnings in food retailing over the last 2 years and on an on-going basis'."
2003-11-11 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Casey Wian & Peter Viles & Christine Romans _CNN_
"At the local level, illegal aliens cost communities in the Southwestern states alone more than $1G a year in health care... This 17-bed Mexican hospital is easing some of the $76M financial burden illegal aliens place on San Diego hospitals. Scripps La Jolla is 1 of 6 hospitals now offering to pay to transfer some illegal alien patients to Tijuana's hospital Ingles, in part because it's cheaper and it frees beds for other patients... The transfers are voluntary for the patient. About 80% accept the offer... The stubborn fact, though, is that workers who go through retraining generally settle for new jobs that pay less than their old ones, 70 to 80 cents on the dollar on average. At least, though, Lou, they usually do find jobs after retraining. About 70% are reemployed within 3 months of finishing the program... James Sasser, former ambassador to Red China: 'Well, I think the real problem is the fact that American and European multi-nationals over a period of many years have rushed into [Red China]. [Red China's] been the recipient of over $500G in direct foreign investment, a lot of it coming from the United States... the [Red Chinese] In last 18 months that bought $100G worth of U.S. government securities. The Japanese bought $150G... It's going to be a very, very painful process, I think, to absorb these vast labor markets in [Red China] and in India and Mexico. That's the direction we're headed... [The Red Chinese] are busily now lowering tariffs which is causing vast unemployment in the Chinese state-owned industries. They have 200M people in their country unemployed and they have to create 20M jobs every year. So I feel badly about our workers, but their workers in other countries that have severe problems as well... Well, Lou, it has been the American multi-national corporations who have pushed globalization. It's American multi-national corporations that wanted the trade pact with Mexico. It's American multi-national corporations that wanted to force open the [Red China] market with WTO... General Motors makes over a $1K per unit -- per unit that they assemble in China. They make just about $50 per unit here in the United States last year. So it's our corporations, really that are reaping these very large profits and in many area's it's low wage or labor intensive low cost industries that are paying the price.'... U.S. Conference of Mayors... jobs will pay almost 18% less than the millions of jobs lost in the past 3 years. Less than $36K on average, $43K is the average for the jobs that were lost."
Steven Greenhouse _NY Times_
WM Faces Class-Action Suit for Racketeering
"Lawyers filed a class-action suit against Wal-Mart yesterday in New Jersey, saying it violated federal racketeering laws by conspiring with cleaning contractors to cheat immigrant janitors out of wages. The suit, in Federal District Court in Newark, seeks to represent thousands of workers who washed and waxed floors nightly in Wal-Mart department stores. It says the company and its contractors violated RICO, the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, by conspiring not to pay the workers over-time. The suit says the cleaners at hundreds of stores generally earned $325 to $500 for working 7 nights a week, usually for 56 hours or more each week."
Natalie Angier _NY Times_
Is War Our Biological Destiny?
"even that beloved ambassador of peace, the Dalai Lama, says it may be necessary to counter terrorism with violence... recent studies in the field of game theory show just how readily human beings establish cooperative networks with one another, and how quickly a cooperative strategy reaches a point of so-called fixation... Archaeologists and anthropologists have found evidence of militarism in perhaps 95% of the cultures they have examined or unearthed... A few isolated cultures have managed to avoid war for long stretches. The ancient Minoans, for example, who populated Crete and the surrounding Aegean Islands, went 1,500 years battle-free; it didn't hurt that they had a strong navy to deter would-be conquerors... Common chimpanzees, which share about 98% of their genes with humans, also wage war: gangs of neighboring males meet at the borderline of their territories with the express purpose of exterminating their opponents. So many males are lost to battle that the sex ratio among adult chimpanzees is two females for every male."
Dictionary publisher plans to hang on to "McJob"
"The editors of the Merriam-Webster dictionary say 'McJob' is a word that's here to stay. The 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, published in June, defines a 'McJob' as 'a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement'. The fast-food giant's chief executive, Jim Cantalupo, called the definition a 'slap in the face' to the 12M people who work in the restaurant industry..."
2003-11-11 21:23PST (2003-11-12 00:23EST) (2003-11-12 05:23GMT)
Brian Bergstein _AP_/_Jacksonville Florida Times-Union_
Privacy holes found in on-line job sites
"Some career Web sites, recruitment services and automated job-application kiosks offer flimsy privacy protections and might even violate employment and credit laws, a report released Tuesday asserts. Many job sites still let too much information from resumes posted on-line get into the hands of third parties through on-line 'cookies' that monitor Web surfing, according to the report, led by Pam Dixon, formerly of the University of Denver's Privacy Foundation and now head of her own group, the World Privacy Forum. The report also faults self-service job application computers commonly used by chain stores. It says they almost always demand social security numbers and perform background checks on applicants without clearly stating who will see the information."
2003-11-12 06:42PST (09:42EST) (14:42GMT)
Leslie Haggin Geary _CNN_
Over-worked employees are fed up: survey finds 8 of 10 Americans want a new job
"more than 8 in 10 workers [83%] plan to look for a new job when the economy heats up, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Professionals... Cash-strapped employers have been cutting back on benefits like health care, paid vacations and retirement benefits. Belt tightening is one thing; greed is another. In an era of Enron, mutual fund scandals and ludicrous CEO pay packages, employees know the difference, says Jeff Taylor... 'You have the greed of executive management and great inequities from your lowest-paid worker to your highest-paid worker. Companies are not giving out raises. Benefits have been cut.' Nearly 40% of all workers spend at least 50 hours on the job per week. 60% of workers feel pressur eto work too much. 83% of employees want more time with their families. 56% of workers are either somewhat or completely dissatisfied with their jobs... Joe Robinson [said,] 'People have been traumatized by the last 15 years of down-sizing and the last few years of recession. Everyone's afraid they'll be next.'"
2003-11-12 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester & Bill Tucker _CNN_
"Roy Moore, Alabama chief justice: 'The essence of my argument is that I've done my duty. I've obeyed my conscience. I've fulfilled my oath to the Constitution of Alabama and the Constitution of the United States. That's what I was required to do when I was elected. That's what I've done.'... This year, the United States signed bilateral trade agreements with both Chile and Singapore. And the United States is now negotiating to eliminate tariffs for virtually every country in the Western Hemisphere. Few of these countries have money and capital to buy American goods. All of them, however, have a number of low- paid workers ready to take away high-paying American jobs... American sugar sells for 21 cents a pound, Brazilian sugar 9 cents... Since NAFTA was signed, the country has lost more than 3M manufacturing jobs. The Labor Department estimates, 1M of those jobs were lost from NAFTA alone. Before NAFTA, the United States averaged $139M monthly trade surplus with Mexico. But in March of this year, the United States had a record $3.9G trade deficit with Mexico... Multi-national corporations have been fighting hard for them. These agreements give them more options for relocating their companies and access to a cheap labor pool... Adam Smith (D), Washington: 'a tariff is a tax. And I know a lot of people have been proposing that we need to get rid of NAFTA; we essentially need to stop trading with countries that have lower labor standards or lower environmental standards than us.'... Marcy Kaptur (D), Ohio: 'Every $1G worth of trade deficit translates into 20K lost jobs... The United States has the lowest tariff rates in the world... the fastest growing category of job growth in this country is temporary work... The average member of the House has to raise $2M to run for office. The average Senator in my state has to raise anywhere up to $10M in order to run for office. The president already has $100M in the bank.'... [Red China] will take whole industries over with its unfree labor, and unfair trade practices, if it keeps going the way it's going."
Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
Failed Pensions: A Painful Lesson in Assumptions
"In a law-suit, they accuse the company of failing for many years to set aside enough money in the plan. The company did this, they say, by assuming they would retire much later than they really did... companies have great leeway to tweak certain crucial assumptions about the future ó when their workers will retire, how long they will live, and which way interest rates will move, among others... The company can save millions of dollars in pension contributions. But if a company shortchanges its pension fund year after year and the company then gets into trouble, the plan that looked healthy can fail, seemingly out of nowhere, leaving workers stranded... Assumptions that the government considers inadequate contributed to the demise of almost all of the roughly 150 pension plans that failed in the last year."
Ronald Bascombe _Montclair New Jersey Times_
American worker boycott
"Corporations have deployed 3 human resource strategies to improve their profitability in the declining economy. They lay off workers. They export the American jobs out of the country to take advantage of salary overhead savings in countries with lower standards of living. They increase the workloads and work hours of the workers who remained employed. In doing this, they protect their investors and the high rollers that run the corporations while bringing pain, fear, anger, helplessness, hopelessness and uncertainty to hard-working Americans... The American worker motto should become 'No Jobs, No Sales!'."
Jennifer Bjorhus _St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Locals head to Miami to protest FTAA
"A group of some 280 Minnesotans are headed to Miami next week to join protests and workshops organized around the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit November 17-21... The Minnesota group will join 10K or more who are expected to be in Miami to promote their own trade-related agendas. The unofficial meetings, regularly staged in conjunction with major meetings of such organizations as the World Trade Organization and the FTAA, are part of a global grassroots effort to hammer out alternative trade models... the United States and Brazil have been at loggerheads over how broad the talks should be, with the United States pushing for additional rules about protecting intellectual property rights and cross-border investments, among other things. Brazil has wanted a pact more limited to phasing out trade -tariffs and has wanted the -United States to include farm subsidies in the talks, something the United States doesn't want to do... Foreign investment may have boomed in Mexico after the NAFTA trade and investment rules went into effect in 1994, but real manufacturing wages in Mexico dropped by nearly 21%, the total number of Mexicans living in poverty has risen to 58%, industrial air pollution there has doubled and at least 403K U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost to Mexico or Canada, according to Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, a [radical leftist] Washington, DC, think tank."
Andrew Wang _AP_/_Information Week_
High Tech Yields India Highest Pay Raises in Asia
"A Hewitt Associates study says workers in India received an average raise of 14%, though it's still one of the lowest-paying countries in Asia... Companies in the Philippines came in second to India, registering average pay increases from 7.1% to 8.6%. In South Korea, pay hikes ranged from 7% to 7.3%, while in [Red China], employees saw salaries jump from 6.7% to 7.3%. While India ranked highest in salary increases, it still remains one of the lowest-paying countries in Asia. A 14% pay raise for a systems engineer for an Indian company in Bangalore, where such jobs earn $24K per year, will pull in roughly as much cash as a 5% raise for an employee in Tokyo earning $64K doing the same job."
2003-11-13 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US average unemployment compensation insurance claims fall to 2.5 year low
"The 4-week average of initial claims for state benefits dropped by 6K to 375,250 in the week ending November 8, the government agency said. The number of new claims in the most recent week rose by 13K to 366K from a revised 353K, which was a 2-year low... The 4-week average of initial claims for state benefits dropped by 6K to 375,250 in the week ending November 8, the government agency said. The number of new claims in the most recent week rose by 13K to 366K from a revised 353K, which was a 2-year low."
2003-11-13 05:41PST (08:41EST) (13:41GMT)
Trade gap widens as imports at record high and unemployment compensation insurance claims are up
"The latest snapshot of the country's trade activity showed that the trade gap grew 4.4% to $41.3G in September, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. September's trade deficit was slightly larger than the $40.2G short-fall that economists were forecasting. Imports of goods and services in September came to a record $127.4G , a 3.3% increase from the previous month... Exports, meanwhile, totaled $86.2G in September, a 2.8% increase from August and the highest level since 2001 May... First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose 13K to 366K in the week ended November 8 from a revised 353K the prior week, the Labor Department said... the total number of unemployed workers who continued to draw benefits after filing an initial claim...rose 49K to 3.53M in the week ended November 1, the latest week for which figures are available."
2003-11-13 06:13PST (09:13EST) (14:13GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Import prices down by a hair while export prices increase slightly
"Prices of imported goods and services rose 0.1% in October, led by a 2.3% rise in petroleum prices, the US Labor Department said Thursday. Excluding petroleum, import prices fell 0.1%. Over the past 12 months, import prices are up just 0.9%, with prices excluding petroleum up 0.7%. Read the full report. Meanwhile, prices received by US exporters rose 0.3% in October. Excluding agricultural goods, which rose 2.5%, export prices increased 0.1% in October. Over the past 12 months, export prices are up 1.4%, with agricultural prices up 10.5%."
2003-11-13 08:47PST (11:47EST) (16:47GMT)
"Raccoons have made up the largest percentage of animal rabies cases reported to CDC since 1990. In 1998, 44% of all rabies cases among animals in the United States occurred among raccoons, according to the agency. From 1990 to 1998, 35,264 cases of raccoon rabies were reported. Of those 35,033 (99%) occurred in eastern states where raccoon rabies is enzootic, the CDC reports... 'We've got raccoon rabies from southern Ontario, Canada, all the way to southern Florida, and from the Great Lakes to the East Coast. In all, 20 states are involved.', says Dr. Charles Rupprecht, a researcher from the CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases... If your pet is bitten by a rabid raccoon, and has not been vaccinated for rabies, it can transfer rabies should it bite you. In rare cases, rabies can be transmitted to humans through contact with an animal's saliva. This can happen if saliva enters an open wound or a mucus membrane, which are found in the eyes or mouth."
2003-11-13 14:11PST (17:11EST) (22:11GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
SEC charges 3 former Gateway execs for cooking the books
"In a civil law-suit filed in federal court in San Diego, the SEC alleged that the former Gateway executives made several 'small accounting tricks' to enable the company to meet Wall Street analysts' earning forecasts. 'The former Gateway executives...were preoccupied with meeting analysts' expectations, to the extent that they fraudulently reverse-engineered Gateway's financial results to do so.', said Randall Lee, the SEC's regional director for the Pacific region."
2003-11-13 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles & Jamie McIntyre _CNN_
Middle Class under Siege
"These days, average day care for a toddler, $4,300 a year. To send a child to a full-time preschool, $5,300, more than it usually costs to send a child to a state college. How about that second car to get mom to work? Payments and insurance, $4,100 per year, per car, times 2... 2M will file for bankruptcy this year. And by the time they do, they typically have about year's salary charged up on their credit cards... in California's Riverside and San Bernardino counties, both near Los Angeles, where the average home price jumped more than 26%... The trade deficit hit a staggering $41G in September. Year-to-date, it now stands at $366G. That's up 21% over last year... The [Red China] deficit is the biggest, $89.7G through September. We're running a $67G deficit with the European Union, $40G with Canada, just under $31G with Mexico... Don Evans, Commerce Secretary: 'The CEA just had a report that I looked at that said, when our imports increase in a sector of our economy, jobs also increase in that sector of our economy.'... Software developer Integnology is one tech company bucking the off-shoring trend. CEO Basheer Janjua, a U.S. citizen, says there is a large supply of displaced American I.T. workers with more skills than their over-seas counter-parts... measures in Congress would allow the guest workers to apply for legal permanent resident status after a set period... Whether the workers are here legally or illegally, a substantial amount of the money earned is sent back home, $14G a year. That is more than the money Mexico takes in from any other source, except for oil... More than 350K American technology jobs have been out-sourced to India and to other countries as well. [ITAA said it was over 560K last year.]... Alabama's Court of the Judiciary today voted unanimously to remove Moore, saying that he willfully and publicly defied a federal court order to remove that statue. After the decision, Moore told CNN he would do it all over again... General Abizaid puts the number of forces opposing the U.S. at fewer than 5K, mostly Saddam loyalists with with a few foreign fighters mixed in."
Economy likely to affect Indo-US relations
"if the American economy does not pick up substantially [it] could lead to the construction of fire-walls and unemployment guarantees against out-sourcing by the US... Former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill had warned before he left India that unless there was greater symmetry in the Indo-US trade and the balance of trade (which is heavily in India's favour currently) was corrected, the political constituency for arguing for greater out-sourcing from India would be weakened because of perceived asymmetry and lack of reciprocity... Cohen said Indo-US economic relations were predicated on interdependence. But if the perception gained ground that India was stealing US jobs in an economy already labouring under assault from unemployment, the political results could be unpredictable."
_Tampa Bay On-Line_/_AP_
Job-Cutting CSX Corp. to Buy $1M in Super Bowl Tickets
"Railroad company CSX Corp., which earlier this week announced it will cut up to 1K non-union employees, recently agreed to buy $1M worth of 2005 Super Bowl tickets. The Super Bowl ticket deal would help the city prepare for the high-profile event and continue to show the Jacksonville-headquartered company's stewardship in the community, CSX Vice President Adam Hollingsworth said Wednesday... In the third quarter, CSX reported a loss of $103M, or 48 cents a share, after recording more than $200M in charges to change the way it estimates injury liabilities and to settle a dispute related to a 1999 sale of international container shipping assets. CSX has 34K employees and its rails cross 23 states."
Michael Schroeder _Wall Street Journal_
India Aims to Counter US Out-Sourcing Anger
"In recent months, a coalition of Indian government officials, business groups and well-heeled Indian-Americans has quietly launched an extensive lobbying campaign to counteract complaints that India is taking an unfair number of high-end U.S. jobs... Goldman, Sachs & Co. estimates that a majority of the 200K service jobs -- most of them in information technology -- that have been shipped to U.S. foreign affiliates over the past 3 years have gone to India. In the same time period, the U.S. has gotten more than 287K temporary-visa applications for Indians to work in the U.S... To fight back, the Indian government is paying several high-priced Washington lobbying and law firms to craft an 'education' campaign extolling the benefits to the U.S. of closer economic ties with India... Washington-based law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld will collect $600K annually to advise India and work the halls of Congress, according to Justice Department records. Former House Speaker Tom Foley and other former diplomats and law-makers at the firm will run the campaign. The Indian Embassy also has an annual $240K retainer with well-known international adviser Edward von Kloberg, who represents several Eastern European countries but is best known for representing Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. India's National Association of Software and Service Companies, known as NASSCOM, a New Delhi trade group representing 850 international companies, also is shouldering part of the load: It hired Hill & Knowlton, an influential public-relations and lobbying firm. According to Senate lobbying records, NASSCOM paid the company $100K for the first 6 months of this year."
2003-11-13 22:01PST (2003-11-14 01:01EST) (2003-11-14 06:01GMT)
Record imports lead to wider US trade deficit; record gap with Red China
"A flood of imports pushed the US trade deficit up 4.4% in September, to $41.3G, as the trade gap with [Red China] hit a new record, the Commerce Department said... For the first nine months of the year, the trade deficit totaled $366G, up 21.2% from the same period last year. The trade gap with [Red China] widened to a record $12.7G in September, topping the previous record of $11.7G set in August."
2003-11-14 06:01PST (09:01EST) (14:01GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Retail sales decline for 2nd month but up over the year
"U.S. seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 0.3% in October, after a revised 0.4% decline in September... Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.2% for the second straight month... Retail sales are up by 6.1% in the past 12 months."
2003-11-14 06:05PST (09:05EST) (14:05GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Producer price index jumps 0.8% in October
"Excluding food and energy prices, core inflation at the wholesale level rose 0.5%, also the largest gain since March. Read the full release... the year-over-year change in the PPI actually fell to 3.4% from 3.5%. The core PPI is up 0.5% in the past year."
2003-11-14 13:46PST (16:46EST) (21:46GMT)
_Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel_/_AP_
Broward county sheriff warns that FTAA protesters plan Sunday march in Oakland Park
"The FTAA meeting that begins in Miami on Sunday could create the world's largest free trade zone, encompassing 34 countries and more than 835M people in the Western Hemisphere. Down-town businesses in Miami are bracing for thousands of protesters."
2003-11-14 13:58PST (16:58EST) (21:58GMT)
Michael Baron _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Tech welling and weak data stall stocks
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 69 points, or 0.7%, to 9,769, while the Nasdaq Composite slid roughly 37 points, or 1.9%, to 1,930. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 0.8% to 1,050.31, while the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks dipped 1.5% to about 533... Volume was relatively light, totaling 1.33G on the New York Stock Exchange, and 1.8G on the Nasdaq. Breadth was negative on both exchanges, as losers outpaced winners, 19 to 13 on the Big Board and 22 to 10 on the Nasdaq... The [uMich] preliminary index rose to 93.5 in November from 89.6 in late October."
2003-11-14 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker _CNN_
Energy legislation and guest-workers
"American workers are fighting back to keep their jobs in this country. They're demanding action from Congress to stop abuses of the H1 and L1 visa programs, programs that have allowed one million foreigners to work in this country legally... It is the first overhaul of our national energy policy in a decade. The legislation calls for about $20G of tax breaks and incentives for energy industries... [A proposal to allow] Drilling in the Alaska Arctic Wildlife Refuge [failed]... Also gone, new fuel- efficiency standards for automobiles. But the massive energy bill does include reforming the nation's electricity grid to avoid massive black-outs like the one that hit the Northeast last August. There are new rules on who will build and pay for transmission lines, an issue that has divided electricity companies across the country. The bill also provides tax incentive to build a new natural gas pipe-line from Alaska to Chicago... tax credits for alternative fuels, including wind power and clean coal... in a dispute with ExxonMobil over $63M in natural gas royalties... Today, an Alabama jury awarded the state of Alabama almost $12G in punitive damages... today when Germany shut down the first of its 19 nuclear power plants... There are an estimated 1M foreigners working in this country who entered on H1 and L1 visas. Many of them have high-technology jobs once held by higher-paid Americans, who are now unemployed. And they are very angry. And they're not acting like victims. They're fighting back... H1Bs are being issued for accounting, architects and design, managerial administrative positions, and, yes, even television positions. Sources within CNN admit that a little less than 2% of its work force are H1B visa workers. CNN will not officially confirm that number, nor is it legally required to... Natasha Humphries, who was fired by her employer, Palm, after she trained the employees that replaced her: 'It's a race to the bottom. They're looking for the cheapest dollar, for the best price for the most talent that they can find. And so it's really important to me to demonstrate to other individuals that you do have recourse. If we organize, if we mobilize and gather our resources, and maybe we can effect some legislative change.'... Felix Rohatyn: 'we actually need $1.5G a day coming in here [from foreign sources] to finance our... deficits.'... Enron's bankruptcy and accounting fees have already topped a half a billion dollars, and are expected to reach $1G by 2006. Its creditors are scrambling to hurry up this bankruptcy process just so they can stop the bleeding and put this disaster behind them."
Jim McKay _Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_
Free trade opponents plan down-town rally
"Labor, religious and peace groups are planning a down-town rally and march tomorrow to protest The Free Trade Area of the Americas, an expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement... The Pittsburgh Campaign to Stop the FTAA is a project of the Thomas Merton Center, which also is planning to take a few hundred Pittsburgh activists to Miami on November 20 and 21 to protest a meeting between U.S. representatives and the trade ministers of the dozens of other countries that would be party to the agreement."
Michael Wilson _NY Times_
Fraud Didn't Enrich Police Who Engaged In It
"two owners of the barber-shop, one of them a former police officer, came up with a way to be paid for automobile accidents that had never happened. Over 2 years, prosecutors said yesterday, the scheme grew to include 4 police officers and a dozen civilians, who filed claims for necks and backs that had never been sprained, for chassis that had not been bent. They cheated 7 insurance companies out of almost $230K, the authorities said, by filing the fake reports and sending the supposed drivers to medical clinics pretending they had been hurt. All 4 officers were arraigned yesterday and pleaded not guilty. The indictments came one year after 3 officers in Brooklyn were charged in a similar auto insurance case."
Diana Jean Schemo _NY Times_
Students' Scores Rise in Math, Not in Reading (with graphs)
"North Carolina showed the largest gain among students since 1992, with the share of students ranked proficient in math soaring to 41% from 13% in fourth grade and to 32% from 12% in eighth grade. The test, officially called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is widely referred to as the nation's report card. It ranks students on a numerical scale as having either advanced, proficient, basic or below-basic skills in math, reading and a variety of other subjects... In 1990, only 1% of black fourth graders, and 2% of black eighth graders were proficient at math. The new results showed 10% of black fourth graders, and 7% of black eighth graders, have reached proficiency."
EU and exempt poor countries refuse to exempt US from methyl bromide ban
"methyl bromide, a fumigant used to control insects, nematodes, weeds and pathogens... Under the protocol, developed nations are required to cut their production of methyl bromide by 70% in 2003 and eliminate it by 2005. The United States has so far complied by cutting its production to 30% of 1991 levels. But in Nairobi the Bush administration asked to increase production to 38.2% in 2005 and 37% in 2006. Claudia MacMurray, leader of the American delegation, said, 'We just couldn't get enough time' to negotiate the United States proposal. She said the alternatives proposed to methyl bromide were toxic, would seep into ground-water and could affect drinking water."
Joel Mowbray _Town Hall_
gay crime syndicate?
"The left's latest experiment with segregation has certainy started out with a bang. This September, NY city opened the nation's first [tax-victim]-funded school for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teens -- Harvey Milk High School -- and a crime wave is already underway..."
2003-11-14 23:35PST (2003-11-15 02:35EST) (2003-11-15 07:35GMT)
Robert Gehrke _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Forest Service Employees Outraged by Loss of Jobs
"Dozens of Forest Service employees in Utah and Montana were told last March they would be among the first victims of the Bush administration decision to bid out work by government employees to private contractors, who could do it cheaper. A required analysis 3 months later showed it's going to cost the government $425K a year more for the same work that was being done by the 41 members of the Forest Service's Content Analysis Team in Salt Lake City and in Missoula, MT... The Forest Service spent $24M studying the idea, which was meant to reduce the federal pay-roll by switching the work to private contractors, assuming they can do it at lower cost. In 93% of the cases, the Agriculture Department agency found it was cheaper for government employees to do the work. Fewer than 250 jobs are being sent to the private sector. So far, the Forest Service has decided to privatize a computer support call center, a handful of maintenance positions and the CAT team, which analyzes public comments on proposed policy changes for several government agencies."
2003-11-15 12:11PST (15:11EST) (20:11GMT)
Marcy Gordon _Raleigh North Carolina News Observer_/_AP_
Personal bankruptcies have doubled in last 10 years
"The total number of bankruptcy filings, including both personal and business, grew by 98%, to this year's 1,661,996 from 837,797 in fiscal 1994. However, the rate of growth in new bankruptcies slowed somewhat in the July-September period of this year compared with the same period a year earlier."
2003-11-15 13:00PST (16:00EST) (21:00GMT)
Florida Teamsters Rally against FTAA as Trade Ministers Prepare to Meet
"More than 1K Teamster Union members rallied today against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) as trade ministers prepared to hold talks next week in Miami. 'NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) has already cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and the FTAA will only add to that tragedy.', Mike Scott, President of Teamsters Local 769 in Miami said. 'We cannot allow Big Business to dictate our trade policies -- we must stand up and fight the FTAA.' Scott urged the crowd to sign ballots opposing the FTAA and said the Teamsters will be visible at next week's trade talks during a 2-mile march outside the meeting site. Saturday's rally was at Markham Park in Sunrise, north of Miami."
Carolyn Said _San Francisco Chronicle_
Personal bankruptcies hit record high
"The number of new personal bankruptcies nationwide rose 7.8% to 1,625,813 from 1,508,578 for the [fiscal] year that ended September 30, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. In the Northern District of California, which includes the Bay Area, personal bankruptcies were up 11.4% to 21,651 from 19,442 over the same period. While the national numbers represent an all-time high, the Northern California numbers fall short of the region's record of 32,113 individual bankruptcy filings in 1997. Nationally, bankruptcy filings, including both business and personal, have almost doubled since 1994. The moribund economy, the unemployment rate -- particularly the fact that people are going jobless for longer periods of time -- and the increased availability of easy credit all fuel the trend. In the Bay Area alone, more than 300K jobs have been lost since 2001 March... The number of U.S. business bankruptcy filings fell 7.4% for the 12 months ended September 30, to 36,183 from 39,091. In the Northern District of California, business filings were down 13.2% to 1,109 from 1,277."
Hilary Roxe _Bradenton Herald_
Police arrest 5 anti-FTAA protestors
"Police arrested 5 people opposed to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas in down-town Miami on Saturday, including an observer dispatched by protesters to watch officers' conduct. The arrests were made 2 days before the official start of sessions in the hemispheric free trade talks, which will take place in Miami from Monday through Friday... charged with obstructing the sidewalk and resisting arrest without force... wearing a neon green cap intended to mark a legal observer, was charged with obstructing the sidewalk and obstructing justice... Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the Miami Activist Defense, a legal support organization for anti-FTAA protesters, said he was particularly concerned about the arrest of... a non-protester."
John Pain _Miami Herald_
US Businesses take sides on free trade area spanning Western Hemisphere
"In Clewiston, almost all its 7,500 residents depend on the sugar industry, which along with many U.S. farmers and labor unions are strongly opposed to the Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Miami that starts Sunday... Those groups say that hundreds of thousands of American jobs will be lost and many farmers will be wiped out if foreign growers can flood the United States with cheap goods under the FTAA, set for creation by 2005 January. But businesses such as manufacturers and computer companies are pushing for the agreement, arguing it will open up new markets for America's $10T economy."
John Pain _Miami Herald_
Miami bids for FTAA HQ
Free Trade of the Americas official site
Miami FTAA site
"City officials hope the meeting here boosts Miami's bid for the head-quarters, so they have been preparing to deal with at least 20K protesters expected to fill the city's streets. Police expect the vast majority to be peaceful, with a few bent on violence to disrupt the meeting. Police and other law enforcement agencies have been conducting riot training. The Miami City Commission has adopted an ordinance that bans protesters from carrying rifles, guns, and 'any length of metal, plastic or other similar hard or stiff material', among other things... In an effort to include unions and protesters in the talks, people registered at a concurrent forum will be allowed to speak about their concerns directly to trade ministers from the 34 nations Wednesday. The biggest protests are planned for Thursday and Friday. But during the whole week, all down-town federal courts are closing, many state courts are curtailing operations, several law firms are relocating or allowing their employees to work from home, and cruise lines are moving operations from Miami north to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale."
Rebecca Ferrar _Knox News (Knoxville Tennessee)_
Corporate greed cause of job loss says worker
"'It was big corporations taking our jobs, and the conditions they (the Mexicans) were working under were deplorable.', she said. TERN (Tennessee Economic Renewal Network) on Friday sponsored a group of Mexican labor activists who held a press conference at the University of Tennessee while on their way to Miami to protest Free Trade Area of the Americas meetings (FTAA) that would extend the North American Free Trade Agreement to 33 countries... According to TERN, the Knoxville area has lost 2,160 jobs as a result of NAFTA, and Tennessee has lost more than 25K jobs... Huberto Juarez Nunez, a Mexican economist on the tour, said his country had high hopes in the beginning over NAFTA, hoping it would be easier for Mexicans to migrate to the United States and that NAFTA would improve the Mexican economy. Both were lies, Nunez said. He said the agreement benefits American manufacturers of electronics, computers, automobiles and clothing, who cut production costs by transferring 'labor to other countries using U.S. materials'. While many low-wage jobs were created in Mexico, a lot of the jobs were lost when the American economy went into recession in 2000, he said... when this area loses jobs to Mexico and other countries, they are being replaced by 'lower paying, sub-standard' jobs."
Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
Xerox Settles Pension Suit With Retirees
"The Xerox Corporation has agreed to settle a law-suit over the way it calculated pension benefits by paying an additional $239M to thousands of employees."
Red China's espionage threat
"Tseng Chao-wen, 58, a retired military intelligence officer, is alleged to have gathered classified information for [Red China] through former colleague Chen Sui-chiung, 55, a staffer in the defense ministry's Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB)... the pair were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of spying... [Red China] has exported diseases, drugs and weapons to Taiwan... The Bureau of Investigation also estimates that there are over 3K [Red Chinese] agents here."
The Wal-Martization of America
"The 70K grocery workers on strike in Southern California are the front line in a battle to prevent middle-class service jobs from turning into poverty-level ones. The supermarkets say they are forced to lower their labor costs to compete with WM, a non-union, low-wage [low-benefit] employer aggressively moving into the grocery business... Its workers earn a third less than unionized grocery workers, and pay for much of their health insurance. WM uses hard-ball tactics to ward off unions. Since 1995, the government has issued at least 60 complaints alleging illegal anti-union activities."
2003-11-16 07:55PST (10:55EST) (15:55GMT)
Richard Willing _USA Today_
FBI may collect juveniles' DNA
"DNA profiles from hundreds of thousands of juvenile offenders and adults arrested but not convicted of crimes could be added to the FBI's national DNA crime-fighting program under a proposed law moving through Congress. The law, if enacted, would be the greatest single expansion of the federal government's power to collect and use DNA since the FBI's national database was created in 1992. The FBI says its national DNA database holds genetic profiles from about 1.4M adults convicted of state and federal crimes. The changes, in a little-noticed section of a bill that would authorize $755M for DNA testing, were approved by the House of Representatives on November 5. Backers say the Senate is likely to approve a similar version by early next year. The FBI system works by using computers to match a person's DNA, the cellular acid that contains an individual's unique genetic code, to DNA taken from unsolved state and federal crimes. Using DNA drawn from convicted adults, the system made 8,920 matches through September, the FBI says."
2003-11-16 10:47PST (13:47EST) (18:47GMT)
John Pain _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Activists Begin Protest of FTAA
"Hundreds of anti-globalization activists kicked off demonstrations Sunday as representatives of 34 Western Hemisphere nations started talks on creating the world's largest free trade bloc... Under police surveillance, about 100 demonstrators gathered at a workshop near downtown Miami, working on puppets, art, a water-recycling system and other projects to get their anti-globalization message across. About 200 other people wearing bright yellow shirts staged a colorful protest parade on the streets of Fort Lauderdale... Meanwhile, civil rights groups were considering a law-suit against the city over alleged police harassment of protesters, said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Miami."
2003-11-16 11:14PST (14:14EST) (19:14GMT)
_Portland Oregon Business Journal_
Job recovery comes witih lower wages
"The US Conference of Mayors has released a report that reveals recent and expected growth in the nation's economy, but through lower-paying jobs. The study, conducted by Global Insights of Waltham, Mass., analyzes job losses between 2001-2003 and expected job gains in 2004-2005. The report shows an economic expansion that will end the 'jobless recovery' with job growth of 1.3% in 2004 and 1.7% in 2005, resulting in a slowly reduced unemployment rate. The average wage of new jobs created during the 2004-2005 period is forecast to be $35,855. The average wage of jobs lost from 2001 to 2003 was $43,629, resulting in a wage gap of 18%."
Terry Keenan _NY Post_
US Consumer Is Tapped Out
"If, as Cisco and others suggest, Uncle Sam was doing a lot of the heavy lifting, where does that leave the economy? You guessed it - back in the hands of the over-leveraged consumer... many shoppers were having a tough time making ends meet... In the mean-time, the White House is doing its best to keep the consumer on life support. Late last week, Treasury Secretary John Snow suggested that the administration was looking to revive a plan that would allow people to shelter almost all of their investment income from taxes and dip into their tax-free nest eggs without penalty. If it happens, the new tax incentives could pass the baton back to the consumer long enough for technology spending to finally catch up."
Peter T. Kilborn _NY Times_
Cattle Rushed to Market as the Price of Beef Soars
"Many things, like droughts in the Midwest and Great Plains, mad cow disease in Canada, and shifts in foreign trade and popular preferences, affect the price of beef. 'But the unique thing about 2003', said Gregg Doud, chief economist for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, 'is that all these factors are pulling in the same direction, pulling prices higher. That never happens.' Cattle ranchers have just one complaint now: signs of more midnight rustlers running off with their calves. Ranchers, and the thieves, too, have been getting 90 cents to $1.15 a pound for cattle, often more than $1,000 a head. That is well above the 85-cent peak a decade ago and 30 and 40 cents more than a year ago. Many ranchers are betting that these prices will not last, so they are slaughtering cattle sooner and depleting their herds of the heifers they would otherwise use to build new herds... So far consumers have seen an average rise of about 10% in restaurant and super-market prices, the department reported. Rather than raise prices, many restaurants and supermarkets are selling lower grade, select beef instead of choice, or promoting chicken and pork."
Andrew Pollack _NY Times_
Who's Reading Your X-Ray?
"Sanjay Saini was not prepared for the hate mail. A radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Saini thought he had found a clever way to relieve an acute shortage of specialists who could read X-rays and M.R.I. scans. The hospital would beam images electronically from some scans to India, to be worked on by radiologists there... even American radiologists, with their years of training and annual salaries of $250K or more, worry about their jobs moving to countries with lower wages, in much the same way that garment knitters, blast-furnace operators and data-entry clerks do. Since the news got out, Dr. Saini has received a flurry of angry e-mail messages, most of them anonymous, urging him to stop. The American College of Radiology, the professional group for the country's 30K radiologists, has set up a task force to look at the off-shore transfer of radiology services. And the online discussion groups of AuntMinnie.com, a Web site for radiologists, have been buzzing with debate about the prospects for competition from 'radiology sweat-shops' abroad. 'This teleradiology thing is another nail in the coffin of the job market.', wrote someone on the web-site who identified himself as a radiologist. 'Who needs to pay us $350K/yr if they can get a cheap Indian radiologist for $25K/yr.' Daniel Courneya, a radiologist in Hibbing, MN, fumed on the site that Massachusetts General, a Harvard teaching hospital known to its admirers as 'Man's Greatest Hospital', should instead be called 'Money Grubbing Hospital', another play on its initials... In the 12 months ended in August, the category added about 250K jobs while overall non-farm pay-roll jobs shrank by nearly 500K. Hospitals alone added about 70K jobs in that period... when doctors at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee dictate information about a patient's condition, their words are sometimes whisked electronically to India... Botsford General Hospital in Farmington Hills, MI...uses a company with operations in India to help collect unpaid bills."
2003-11-16 17:28PST (21:28EST) (2003-11-17 02:28GMT)
Schwarzenegger promises to boost Silicon Valley economy
"Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger promised Silicon Valley business leaders that he would reform workers' compensation policies and return the region to its previous luster... 'The most important thing we need to do is bring the economy back.', Schwarzenegger told 1,100 people gathered Friday for a San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce dinner... The region is limping from the 2000 collapse of the dot-com bubble. Unemployment in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, is 7.5%, according to the most recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to 6% nationwide."
2003-11-17 09:37PST (12:37EST) (17:37GMT)
Age and exercise may boost memory
"The people who were physically fit had gray matter in better shape. NYU's Convit found that losing weight can also improve memory function. '[Losing weight] will improve how you regulate your glucose, and we have shown that improved glucose regulation is associated with better memory.'... Convit found that individuals with poor glucose regulation had a smaller hippocampus, the part of the brain dealing with memory."
2003-11-17 12:40PST (15:40EST) (20:40GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Inheritance not for many
"85% of Baby Boomers don't expect to receive an inheritance, according to a recent AARP report. All told, 27% of Baby Boomers have received or expect to receive an inheritance, and of those who received one the median value was $47,909, according to the report, which used data from the Federal Reserve Board's Survey of Consumer Finances. The pre-Boomer generation, born before 1946, reported a median bequest of $108,885. 27% of that group already received or expected to receive a bequest... 25% of inheritances larger than $100K went to the wealthiest 20% of Americans, and 65% of inheritances are left to families with a net worth of $140,300 or more, according to AARP... Havens of Boston College found that people born between 1926 and 1945 will leave estates valued at about $15.6T over the next 50-odd years, with $7.8T of that going to heirs once estate taxes, costs and charitable bequests are deducted. But about 80% of those bequests will come from the wealthiest 10% of that generation, Havens said."
2003-11-17 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Bill Tucker & Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester & Kimberly Osias & Christine Romans _CNN_
immigration, Red Chinese product and trademark fraud
"An estimated 10M illegal aliens now live in this country. That's more than double the number only 10 years ago... John Keeley of the Center for Immigration Studies: 'We spend in excess of $7G a year in primary and secondary education for illegal alien children. You have health care costs. Hospitals in the Southwest spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year in providing emergency care services to illegal aliens. And I would say the cost of incarcerating illegal aliens are considerable, hundreds of millions of dollars a year... an estimated 700K illegal aliens cross our borders each year... The industries which traditionally employ the most immigrants, construction, landscaping, hotels and restaurants, are positions that are low-paying and generally low-profile. In the work-place, employers have to be careful about the questions they ask when hiring people... John Gay of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition: 'The employer cannot ask for too many documents or too few documents... And those documents are facially valid, the employer must accept them.'... So employers get cheap labor and face no liability... [Reform is opposed by a coalition that] includes business leaders who are in search of cheap labor, politicians who are courting ethnic votes, and unions, Lou, who favor mass amnesty programs in the hope of drawing in new members... a [Red Chinese] company that is stealing U.S. technology... And it is official: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sworn in, in California... As the U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] swelled to an estimated $130G this year, [Red China] is stealing U.S. technology. This piracy is a problem that, around the globe, is costing American companies an estimated $200G a year. An Oregon technology company is just one of [Red China's] victims. A [Red Chinese] company has stolen and counterfeited its entire product line, right down to its Web site... Videx makes data collection systems... Vdiax is the fake. Somewhere in [Red China], it is counterfeiting the entire Videx line of hand-held data machines... From time to time, the [Red Chinese] government does stage a symbolic destruction of pirated goods, but counterfeiting is still rampant. Despite agreements with Washington to protect intellectual property in 1992 and again in 1995, the USTR said this year -- quote -- '[Red China] remains one of the last countries in the world that fails to use its criminal law to go after commercial copyright pirates and trademark counterfeiters.' It is estimated, as much as one-fifth of Chinese economic output is counterfeit goods, including not just consumer products, but software, 90% of software, auto parts. And, perhaps most alarmingly, Lou, medicines, prescription drugs that are being exported from [Red China] in many cases are counterfeit... the textile industry in this country has lost more than 300K jobs over the past 2 years. Now it is asking the Bush administration to put quotas on knit fabrics and finished clothing from [Red China]... From 2002 September to September of this year, [Red Chinese] imports [into the US] of cotton brassieres shot up 53%. Synthetic brassieres from [Red China] jumped 78%. Dressing gowns from [Red China] increased 85%. And knit fabrics surged 39%... Fruit of the Loom is closing a plant in Harlingen, Texas, eliminating nearly 800 jobs next month. And Levi Strauss will shut its factory in San Antonio, Texas, before the end of the year. It is the last plant to make Levi's Jeans in the United States... Under World Trade Organization rules, quotas in place for the most sensitive clothing categories, shirts, trousers and blouses, will be eliminated by 2003 January, unless the Bush administration decides otherwise... As his first order of business, [California Governor] Schwarzenegger kept a campaign promise by signing a bill to repeal the tripling of the state vehicle license fee... So, Lou, new members of the mutual fund hall of shame are inducted every day. Last week, Fleet Boston, Wachovia, Pilgrim Baxter, [Charles] Schwab, Legg Mason, Bank of New York, American Express, and Raymond James either confessed to wrong-doing or admitted that they're being probed. That's not all. There is also Bear Sterns, Fred Alger Management, Federated, Putnam, Alliance, Banc One, Janus, Strong, Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney, all drawn into this investigation."
Donna Howell _Investor's Business Daily_/_Yahoo!_
Down-Sized Comdex Touts Business Tech
"Organizers expect only 500 vendors will display at Comdex, which was to open Sunday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. That's down from 1,100 last year. And total attendance is expected to be at most half of last year's 100K+. In the 1999 bubble year, estimated attendance hit 220K and exhibitors numbered about 2,400."
David Leonhardt _NY Times_
Atlanta economy recovers cautiously
"This city, which boomed even more than the rest of the country in the 1990s and busted even harder when the century turned, may well be the epicenter of the economy's emerging recovery... the Atlanta area added more than twice as many jobs to its economy during the 12 months that ended in September as any other metropolitan area, the Labor Department says... Personal income growth continues to trail inflation in Atlanta, according to Economy.com, a research company that follows regional trends. The bankruptcy rate has remained almost 35% higher this year than (135% of what) it was in 2000... At the same time, many foreign companies, drawn by Atlanta's airport and the South's relatively low salaries, have set up their American base here, according to Economy.com."
Eric Chabrow & Chris Murphy _Information Week_
The Programmer's Future: Will low-cost off-shore competition & packaged apps make the in-house programmer obsolete? (with graph; 3 pages)
"From 2000 to 2002, the number of IT pros calling themselves computer programmers dropped more than 12% as 87K people walked away from the career. It's no wonder -- the number employed dropped 16%. In 2003, there are 3% fewer people employed as programmers than in 1994. Unemployment among programmers averaged 1.6% two years ago, a far cry from 7.1% in the first 9 months of this year, the highest of the 8 IT job categories tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That unemployment comparison isn't perfect, since the bureau began using new job definitions in 2003, but for both categories the government used monthly surveys counting coders employed by user companies, IT vendors, outsourcers, integrators, and consultancies, plus the self-employed... Programmer employment peaked in 2000 and then fell below 1994's level... There was a spike in programmer demand in the late 1990s and 2000 as IT spending soared and companies hired programmers for year 2000 remediation. Soon after, with Y2K fixes completed and the dot-com bust under way, programmer ranks diminished."
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Utah Cities Plan Fiber-Optic Net
"With a $470M price tag, the project is considered one of the most ambitious efforts in the world to deploy fiber optic cables, which carry data in bursts of light over glass fibers. Though it has not received much attention outside the area, the project has raised questions here about the role of government, particularly from telecommunications companies, which are starting to complain about the prospect of competing against a publicly sponsored digital network. The cities involved argue that reliable access to high-speed data is so important to their goals of improving education and advancing economic growth that the project should be seen as no more controversial than the traditional public role in building roads, bridges, sewers and schools - as well as electric power systems, which are often municipally owned in the Western United States... The network is expected to be available to 723K residents in 248K households and 34,500 businesses. Prices would vary considerably depending on the service, though basic high-speed Internet access is expected to cost about $28 a month... As of October, only 180,300 homes had direct access to fiber optic lines; 64,700 were actually connected, according to Render, Vanderslice & Associates, a market research firm in Tulsa, OK."
Julia Finch _The Guardian_
British banks join off-shore out-sourcing to India
"It is a month since HSBC ran into a storm of protest over plans to cut 4K jobs in Swansea, Birmingham, Sheffield and Brentwood, and outsource them to India, where the donkeywork of data processing, computer inputting and admin can be done for a fifth of the cost. The switch is part of trend which Deloitte Research reckons will result in 2m of the 13m jobs in financial services in developed economies moving to India by 2008. Some 730K of those jobs will be in Europe and most of those from the UK, because, with just a few exceptions, this jobs revolution applies only to those who speak English. Trade union Amicus forecasts that 200K call centre jobs will be wiped out - less than 10 years since they were hailed as the economic saviours of countless regions which had already watched their manufacturing jobs go east... There are two distinct ways of working - the company seeking the savings can set up an over-seas off-shoot (known as a captive), or buy in the service from third-party providers. The captives, led by companies such as BA, GE and Amex, moved in 12 years ago and account for 60% of the market. HSBC, however, rejects the captive label. 'We have been in India for 150 years... We are just moving jobs from one part of our company to another.'"
Paul McDougall _Information Week_
HR Out-Sourcing Ready To Catch a Big Wave: Services to account for more than a third of business-process out-sourcing revenue
"Evidence is growing that big companies want to farm out human-resources operations to service providers here and overseas to cut costs. The market for outsourcing these business processes is expected to grow 18% this year, to $46 billion, and reach $51 billion next year, according to research firm Gartner... The HR market will account for 39% of all business-process-out-sourcing revenue in 2004, Gartner says... Accenture [Andersen Consulting] has launched a project under which some internal resumÈ screening is handled by employees at its Bangalore, India, facility."
Thomas Hoffman _ComputerWorld_
Indiana job agency hires foreign help: An Indiana unemployment agency has hired a company that's bringing in up to 65 computer programmers from India
"Tata America International Corp. [subsidiary/affiliate TCS] will send up to 65 'IT' staffers from India to work alongside 18 state employees over the next 2 years at a government facility in Indianapolis. The team will replace a tax and unemployment claims processing system that runs on Unisys Corp. main-frames with a client/server application written in Java, said Patrick Murphy, a deputy commissioner at the Indiana Department of Work-force Development. The DWD awarded Tata a $15.2M contract last summer, and development work began November 4."
Mark McDonald _San Jose Mercury News_
Workers desperate as visa demand rises: Predatory culture of fraud, abuse emerging in India
"By mid-morning, when the side door to the U.S. Consulate General finally opens, there are several hundred people in line, and sometimes as many as 2K. Many have come to apply for an H-1B visa, the category that allows certain specialty workers to live in the United States for as long as six years at a time. H-1B applicants must be sponsored by U.S. companies, and virtually all the H-1B visas given to Indians are for positions in high tech. There's an unmistakable desperation among those in line, a desperation due in part to a limit on the number of H-1B visas available each year... For many Indians, an H-1B holds the promise of a lifetime of savings in exchange for a few years of work in the United States... In October, Congress raised the limit on the number of H-1Bs available each year to 195K for the next 3 years. It also changed some requirements and raised some fees to help the Immigration and Naturalization Service speed up processing and handle a huge backlog of applications. But the new legislation failed to tackle abuse in the middleman industry, which has grown with every expansion of the H-1B program... But U.S. consular officials said last year that 21% of H-1B applications it received contained some kind of fraudulent information -- forged college degrees, doctored resumes, phony work experience or phantom job offers. That figure more recently dropped to 11%, with an additional 3% of applications categorized as 'suspect'... Indian nationals received 44% of all H-1Bs issued worldwide last year, virtually all of them for high-tech jobs."
US Productivity Isn't the Villain; It's the Hero
"Because advances in productivity have more than accounted for the economy's growth, about a million jobs have disappeared from U.S. pay-rolls since the recovery began nearly 2 years ago... the economy has to sustain growth of greater than 3% for payrolls to expand. But that's only part of the story. The more important part is that faster productivity growth boosts demand, by lifting profits and workers' pay. It also adds to wealth as a result of higher stock prices. The crucial link between productivity and demand is income... Increased productivity not only explains why corporate profits are beating all expectations this year, it's also the reason behind the economy's ability to lose 2.7M jobs since early 2001 without one single quarterly decline in consumer spending... Even though average product prices have increased by a scant 1% or so over the past year, unit labor costs have fallen by about 1%, meaning that margins are expanding... Overall demand is now growing 5.6% from a year ago. For the first time in 2 1/2 years, that's enough to cover the current pace of labor costs, as well as some new hiring... In the third quarter, the employment cost index, measuring hourly pay and benefits in the private sector, rose 4% from the year before. Real compensation, adjusted for inflation, is up about 2%. Since 1998, the annual pace has ranged between 1.5% and 3%, mainly reflecting the ups and downs in purchasing power caused by changing energy prices. Even in the aggregate, real household income before taxes has increased at a 1.5% annual rate since the recession ended, despite the decline in payrolls by more than a million workers."
_Los Angeles Business Journal_
Foreclosures rise in Los Angeles and San Diego
"McGee says the steepest rise from second quarter to third quarter was 27% in San Joaquin County, followed by Orange County at 17%. Los Angeles County reported an increase of 11% and San Diego was up 5%."
2003-11-17 20:47PST (23:47EST) (2003-11-18 04:47GMT)
James Cox _USA Today_
Can US beat the heat at FTAA trade talks in Miami?
"The collapse of the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle halted years of gains for free-trade advocates and energized the anti-globalization coalition that continues to haunt major economic summits around the world... Their goal: Agree on the outline of a deal to create a single, $14T market of 800M people, stretching from the Arctic to the tip of South America. President Bush envisions a NAFTA-like accord that blows down barriers to goods, services and investment and plants democracy and open markets deeper in Latin America and the Caribbean. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which took effect 1994 January 1, wiped out barriers among the U.S., Canada and Mexico... For union leaders and anti-globalization activists, FTAA represents 'NAFTA on steroids', a business-dominated plan to expand a trade accord they consider a disaster. The 'fair-trade movement', as it calls itself, says NAFTA did more than drop barriers. It has killed jobs, deepened poverty, fouled the environment, put public resources such as water in corporate hands and allowed corporations and agri-businesses to trample mom-and-pops and small farmers, the activists say. Labor leaders and other opponents in the USA say the FTAA deal envisioned by the administration would spark a 'race to the bottom' by sending U.S. investment and jobs to poor countries with bad environmental records, low wages and exploited workers."
2003-11-18 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
"Many companies, including WM, Metro, Tesco, Procter and Gamble and Gillette, have already started tagging items in stores in the United States and Europe. And the companies making RFID tags still plan to help their customers tag every shampoo bottle, soda can and milk bottle that rolls off the assembly line. No company, however, has deployed devices that will kill the tags at check-out... Privacy activists at the workshop also said the companies promoting the new standard for using RFID tags, called the Electronic Product Code, are exaggerating RFID's limitations in order to assuage consumers' privacy concerns... But Albrecht noted that Gillette has already ordered 500M RFID tags for its products, and Mario Rivas, executive vice president of Philips Semiconductors, said his company has shipped 1G chips for use in the tags... RFID tags are already fairly ubiquitous: They are used by millions of people each day who hold their ID badges up to readers to access secure work sites and board public transportation. Many commuters on U.S. highways breeze past readers that pick up a unique signal from their cars' RFID tags. Many MIT students at the privacy workshop were also surprised to learn that their student ID tags contain RFID transponders."
2003-11-18 12:40PST (15:40EST) (20:40GMT)
James Cox _USA Today_
US sets quotas for Red Chinese textile goods
"The Bush administration announced quotas on [Red Chinese]-made lingerie Tuesday, sparking protectionist fears in currency markets even as U.S. officials fought to salvage an Americas free-trade deal. The emporary quotas follow complaints by the U.S. apparel industry that a surge in imports from China is a main culprit behind 316K job losses... William Lash, assistant Commerce secretary, said Tuesday that [Red China] has a poor record of observing global trade rules. He gave [Red China] 'a gentleman's C to a D+' grade for its overall performance and 'maybe an F' for failing to enforce copyright and trademark protections on movies, recordings and drugs."
2003-11-18 14:58PST (17:58EST) (22:58GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US to limit imports of Red Chinese textiles
"In an escalation of already tense trade relations between the U.S. and [Red China], the Bush administration Tuesday decided to issue new quotas on imports of some [Red Chinese] textiles that would limit the growth of purchases from [Red China] to 7.5% annually from the level of shipments over the past year... Last month, more than 165 law-makers urged President Bush to impose the tariffs."
2003-11-18 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles _CNN_
tracking illegal aliens
"the federal government has only hundreds of agents to track down millions of illegal aliens... A new opinion poll conducted by Britain's leading liberal newspaper says nearly two-thirds of British voters say the United States is a force for good in the world... The military says there are 5K -- this is CENTCOM's best estimate -- 5K terrorist insurgents working against U.S. forces and Iraqi forces... Patrick Fagan, Heritage Foundation: 'There's around a 40% reduction in annual income. That's greater than the Great Depression had on the American economy. So a divorce is like a Great Depression for a family. Everybody is affected.' According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, that's a radical shift. They found, 3 decades ago, the most common social arrangement was married couples with children; 73% of all children lived with their original 2 parents, who were married. Today, 60% of all children by the age of 18 will have experienced the divorce of their parents. And 1 in 3 children these days is born out of wed-lock... There are 2.3M weddings as year. According to _Brides_ magazine, Americans spend $50G a year on the big event... state and local law enforcement authorities aren't permitted by federal law to enforce our national immigration laws... With just 2,500 immigration agents, there's no question the federal government is so outmanned in the fight against illegal immigration... A top property of the bill is to find, arrest and deport the estimated 400K illegal aliens who are already under orders to leave the country... Charles Norwood: 'out of the 400K illegal aliens that are deportable, 80K of those are violent criminals... we know that 3,700 come from countries that are friendly to al Qaeda... the U visa that is out there that allows a woman who is having a problem with domestic violence to turn herself in and not be deported. We've already put that on the books to solve that particular problem.'... The International Monetary Fund, however, is now warning the United States against taking further trade steps against [Red China], despite the fact that we expect a $130G trade deficit with [Red China]... Assistant Commerce Secretary William Lash said he would give [Red China] a gentleman's C, to a D-plus grade on keeping with World Trade Organization commitments."
Keith Bradsher _NY Times_
Red China to Set Fuel Economy Standards in Effort to Block Imports from USA
"The [Red Chinese] government is preparing to impose minimum fuel economy standards on new cars for the first time, and the rules will be significantly more stringent than those in the United States, according to Chinese experts involved in drafting them... They are the latest and most ambitious in a series of steps to regulate [Red China's] rapidly growing auto industry, after moves earlier this year to require that air bags be provided for both front-seat occupants in most new vehicles and that new family vehicles sold in major cities meet air pollution standards nearly as strict as those in Western Europe and the United States."
Arnold S. Relman _NY Times_
Your Doctor's Drug Problem: High Costs Attributed to Doctor Education
"doctors are taught about drugs by agents of the pharmaceutical industry, which works hard to persuade them to select the newest and most expensive medications -- even in the absence of scientific evidence that they are any better than older, less costly ones... Most medical practitioners nowadays learn which drugs to use, and how to use them, mainly from teachers and educational programs paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. To renew their licenses, doctors in almost all states are required to enroll in continuing medical education programs, and these are now largely subsidized, directly or indirectly, by the pharmaceutical industry."
Bruce Meyerson _Information Week_/_AP_
21K Verizon Workers Take Buy-Out
"About 21,600 employees accepted a buy-out offer from Verizon Communications and will leave the pay-roll by the end of the week, nearly double the number that the nation's biggest telephone company estimated last month. The employees include 5,600 union workers and about 16K non-union managers and administrative staff. The final count far exceeds Verizon's estimate last month that more than 12K of the 152K workers who were offered the buyout were expected to accept the deal. The buy-out, which was not offered to Verizon Wireless' nearly all-non-union staff of 40K, was designed to help accelerate cost-cutting in the company's shrinking residential telephone business."
Sharon Gaudin _internet.com_
Off-Shoring of IT Jobs Expected to Accelerate
"Textile mills closed their doors, sending their jobs to foreign shores where labor is cheaper. Shoe manufactures did the same. Then manufacturers started handing out pink slips to their U.S. workers, sending the jobs, and the pay, off-shore. Today, the IT industry is the next one to fall... And industry watchers say that's about to get much worse... Today, approximately 8% of IT work is out-sourced, according to Gordon Brooks, president and CEO of E5 Systems, Inc., an IT out-sourcing company based in Waltham, MA. In 5 years, that number will have exploded to 55%. Forrester Research predicts that $136G in wages, or 3.3M jobs, will move off-shore in the next 15 years... Industry watchers agree that programming is one of the first jobs to be off-shored."
Apple Power Mac G5 Is Best MicroComputer
"[Owners] are rejoicing over the Apple Power Mac G5. In a dazzling display of disruptive technology and processor independence, Apple's top-of-the line G5 is the first dualó64-bit computer and the first desk-top application of the IBM PowerPC 970 CPU. The vast majority of Macintosh apps run flawlessly on this brand-new platform. The 3 PCI-X slots ensure fast I/O; the AGP 8X Pro graphics bus, FireWire 800 bus, and USB 2.0 bus are equally state of the art."
Christine van Dusen _Atlanta Journal-Constitution_/_Job Bank USA_
Hiring of Older Workers Grows As Employers Eye Skills Anew
"Older workers accounted for about 77% of net employment growth during October, according to a recent report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas... While retail employment in October grew by 3K for those 55 and older, education and business services added 330K workers 55 and older during the month. And the ranks of older workers in such fields as accounting, engineering and sales grew by 218K in October. That is a vast improvement over the past. In 1992 October, workers 55 and older represented just 12.9% of hires, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
2003-11-19 04:27PST (07:27EST) (12:27GMT)
Anita Manning & Elizabeth Weise _USA Today_
Hepatitis A out-break may be tied to uncooked food imported from Mexico
"It's not certain what caused the out-break, but suspicion has focused on green onions, or scallions. Hepatitis A out-breaks in September in Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina were linked to raw or under-cooked green onions; at least some of them were traced back to Mexico, says Bob Racket of the Food and Drug Administration... Symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, fever and jaundice, may appear in two to 7 weeks, and there is no medication to treat it."
2003-11-19 14:07PST (17:07EST) (22:07GMT)
Richard Shim _CNET_
540K tech jobs lost in 2002
"New research indicates that some 540K high-tech jobs were lost in the United States during 2002. However, the American Electronics Association reported that the unemployment trend has slowed in 2003... Software companies lost some 150K individual positions in 2002. The communications sector lost 146K employees."
2003-11-19 06:24PST (09:24EST) (13:24London) (14:24GMT)
George W. Bush
President Bush Discusses Iraq Policy at Whitehall Palace in London
"These terrorists target the innocent, and they kill by the thousands. And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished. The second pillar of peace and security in our world is the willingness of free nations, when the last resort arrives, to restrain aggression and evil by force. There are principled objections to the use of force in every generation, and I credit the good motives behind these views. Those in authority, however, are not judged only by good motivations. The people have given us the duty to defend them. And that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men. In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force... The third pillar of security is our commitment to the global expansion of democracy, and the hope and progress it brings, as the alternative to instability and to hatred and terror. We cannot rely exclusively on military power to assure our long-term security. Lasting peace is gained as justice and democracy advance."
2003-11-19 05:33PST (08:33EST) (13:33GMT)
Asian terror chief planning attacks
"The purported new military chief of a Southeast Asian terror group is among a handful of Indonesians in direct contact with al-Qaeda and is now considered the most lethal terrorist in Asia, plotting fresh attacks in the region, officials told The Associated Press. Known as Zulkarnaen, the highest ranking Jemaah Islamiyah leader still on the loose is believed to head an elite squad that helped carry out a suicide bombing at a Jakarta hotel that killed 12 people, in addition to helping prepare bombs that killed 202 people in Bali, U.S. and Indonesian officials told AP. Zulkarnaen held a meeting last March on the tiny island of Sebatik with two other senior militants to plot upcoming attacks against Western hotels and banks in Indonesia, a senior intelligence adviser said. The adviser and the U.S. and Indonesia officials spoke on condition of anonymity."
2003-11-19 09:19PST (12:19EST) (17:19GMT)
Michael Liedtke _AP_/_Yahoo!_
High-Tech Jobs Dwindle by 12%
"About 12% of the nation's high-tech jobs have evaporated during the past 2 years, but the meltdown appears to be in its final stages, according to an industry report to be released Wednesday. After wiping out 540K jobs in 2002, high-tech employers are on pace to lay off another 234K workers this year, based on figures compiled by the AeA, a trade group formerly known as the American Electronics Association. Based on the AeA's estimates, the high-tech industry will end this year with about 5.73M workers, down from 6.5M employees at the end of 2001. The 2002 contraction included 146K job losses in the software sector, the first time employment in that high-tech niche has fallen in the 7 years that AeA has been compiling its state-of-the-industry report. California, long a high-tech magnet, accounted for 123K job losses in 2002, or 22% of the national total, the AeA said... California ended 2002 with 994,700 high-tech jobs -- more than twice as many as Texas, the nation's second largest high-tech hub with 478,900 employees... [high tech workers earned] an average of $66,300 in 2001... The high-tech industry's pay-roll totaled $433G in 2001, accounting for about 11% of the nation's wages..."
2003-11-19 10:09PST (13:09EST) (18:09GMT)
Emily Church & Steve Gelsi _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Currency traders arrested in FBI sweep: NY-area sting nets 47 in alleged kick-back scheme
"the FBI netted 47 arrests late Tuesday in a crack-down on foreign-exchange-trading scams... 'Today's charges run the gamut of fraud.', James Comey said. 'With more than 1K victims, from small investors to large banks, the losses are in the millions.', Comey said, adding that the traders used boiler-room-style companies with 'fancy' names such as 'Morgan Sterling' to impress investors... one of the scams, in which traders engineered losses for their banks and then took kick-backs from customers' profits."
2003-11-19 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jamie McIntyre & Casey Wian & Lisa Sylvester & Christine Romans _CNN_
illegal aliens, government training programs
"200K illegal aliens enter this country each year through a single national park in Arizona... It will take 2 more years at the current production rate to get the 3,500 humvees needed... Daniel Webster: 'Justice is the greatest interest of man on Earth.'... AT&T Wireless is considering [off-shore] out-sourcing more than 10% of its 30K employees. Published reports quoting people familiar with the situation as saying, 'AT&T wireless is in talks with companies that employ workers in India and elsewhere over-seas.'... The General Accounting Office [GAO] says nearly 60K mass lay-offs took place between 2000 and 2002 in this country, leaving millions without jobs... The Labor Department is responsible for giving $200M a year in grants to the hardest hit states to help retrain employees. But a General Accounting Office report that help for many of the workers is delayed for months... According the GAO nearly 90% of the Labor Department grants took more than 30 days to process. Almost half of the grants were delayed by 90 days. After the plants have closed and workers dispersed it becomes more difficult to coordinate training programs... [Red China] today threat topped go to war against Taiwan if the leadership pushes towards independence. A top [Red Chinese] official says Taiwan's president crossed [Red China's] red line by challenging Beijing's one-China policy... [330K acre] Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona is one of the country's most beautiful national park. It is also consistently rated the nation's most dangerous national park. The reason, illegal aliens and drug smugglers have made it a key smuggling route into this country... This night vision video shows a trail of back-packing drug couriers. Here illegal aliens sneak past sleeping campers. Rangers estimate about 200K illegal aliens and $700M in drugs cross the border each year... Operation Wooden Nickel 18 months long, 47 people arrested so far and the Justice Department says that ring involved rig trade in currency market. Some schemes going on for 20 years. U.S. Attorney James Comey says the ring milked millions from small investors all the way up to the big banks... Our prisons are, by most estimates, costing $1.5G because of the large illegal alien population within them... Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies: 'There's no such thing as a job an American won't take. There are jobs that Americans won't do at a certain wage level and a certain benefit level and organized in a certain way, yes, there's no question about that.'... Frank Sharry of National Immigration Forum: 'The fact is, that the number of U.S.-born workers who are willing to do half the jobs that require a high school education or less is declining rapidly as our society ages. The answer is that immigrants are coming, making more wages than they would at home, doing service sector jobs...'"
Matt Richtel & Laurie J. Flynn _NY Times_
Getting a Job in the Valley Is Easy if You're Perfect
"Employers are being extremely picky, the few jobs being offered pay less than they once did, and they do not come with the bountiful benefits and sterling opportunities of the 1990s boom, job seekers say... Indeed, what qualifies as good news in the technology industry is not so much evidence of overall job gains, but signs that job losses have slowed considerably... 'They give you a list of the 30 things they want, and if you're not an identical match, they move on immediately.'... For example, in Santa Clara County, home to Palo Alto and Stanford University, the average salary fell to $63K in 2002, the most recent year with statistics available, down from $76,300 in 2000, according to the Labor Department [down more than 17%]. In California, which lost 123K technology jobs in 2002, the employment market has stabilized but has not yet started to add workers. Employers in Santa Clara County reported 865,800 jobs in October, up 2,500 from September. But the gains came in health and educational services and in government employment. The information technology sector lost about 700 jobs."
Jennifer Beauprez _Denver Colorado Post_
Report says what techies know: Jobs Are Scarce (with graphs)
"In 2002, Colorado companies employed 26,700 fewer tech workers than the year before, a 13% drop, according to the annual CyberStates report released Tuesday by the American Electronics Association [an association of firms in the electronics industry]... this report ranked [Colorado] 12th in the nation for total high-tech employment, compared with 10th in 2001... Those who still remain employed in technology are among the highest paid in the state, according to the report. The average tech salary in Colorado was $69K in 2001, the AEA report stated, the ninth highest in the nation and 81% higher than the state's average private-sector wage."
_AeA_ (formerly the American Electronics Association)
High-Tech Industry Sheds More than 500K Jobs in 2002
"A study released today by AeA shows that in 2002 the U.S. high-tech industry lost 540K jobs, dropping from 6.5M to 6.0M... For the first time in the 7 years of publishing Cyberstates, the software sector recorded a loss of nearly 150K jobs last year... The engineering and tech services sector lost 15K jobs in 2002. The one bright spot was in R&D and testing labs, where employment increased by 7K in 2002... AeA selected 49 NAICS codes to define the high-tech industry. They fall into four broad categories: electronics manufacturing, communications services, software, and engineering and tech services... California lost the greatest number of tech jobs, shedding some 123K jobs. Texas was second with tech jobs down by 61K jobs. Interestingly, the District of Columbia, Wyoming, and Montana were the only 3 cyberstates to add technology jobs between 2001 and 2002... High-tech services employment declined by 306,500 jobs, dropping by: 145,500 in communication services - 146,200 in software - 14,800 in engineering and tech services. Unemployment rates for computer programmers jumped to 6.2% in 2002, up from 4.5% in 2001"
Celia W. Dugger _Arizona Republic_/_NY Times_
NAFTA Is Failing: Mexico job growth stunted, farmers hurt says Carnegie Endowment
"As the North American Free Trade Agreement nears its 10th anniversary, a study from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concludes that the pact failed to generate substantial job growth in Mexico, hurt hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers there and had 'minuscule' net effects on jobs in the United States... Although sorting out the causes is complicated, real wages in Mexico are lower now than they were when the agreement was adopted, income inequality is greater there and immigration has continued to soar... Trade negotiators for Central and South American countries should bargain for more gradual tariff reductions on corn, rice and beans, the staples of subsistence farming, to give peasants time to adjust to tough competition from highly efficient and heavily subsidized American farmers."
D. David Beckman _WashTech_
AT&T Wireless Exporting Tech Jobs to India: Washington Employees Livid about Training Replacements
"The lay-offs happen by ones and twos, AT&T Wireless employees say. Some employees are quietly called into a manager's office and simply told that their jobs are being eliminated. Others are told that they will be participating in a 'pilot project' where they are expected to train an employee of an off-shore out-sourcing firm how to perform their job. The goal of the pilot project, they later learn, is to move jobs to India, where qualified, English-speaking employees will work for as little as 10% of the salary U.S. workers are paid. That's how as many as 70% of approximately 3,900 IT employees, most based at company facilities in Redmond and Bothell, WA, will lose their jobs, say reliable sources at the company who asked not to be named."
2003-11-19 18:21PST (21:21EST) (2004-11-20 02:21GMT)
Erika Morphy _CIO Today_/_NewsFactor_
Tech Job Losses Mount
"A new and entirely unwelcome trend materialized in the software industry: For the first time in Cyberstates' 7-year publishing history, the software sector recorded a loss of nearly 150K jobs last year. The U.S. high-tech industry lost 540K jobs last year -- the work-force dropped to 6M, according to a study by AeA, a high-tech trade association. Called _Cyberstates 2003: A State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry_, the study illustrates some not-so-surprising regional trends. Employment in California's tech industry, for example, dropped by 11% last year, reducing the number of workers to 995K. Venture-capital investments in the state dropped by 43% -- from $16G in 2001 to $9G in 2002. The sobering statistical analysis ends with the prediction that another 234K IT jobs will be lost this year..."
2003-11-19 19:07PST (22:07EST) (2003-11-20 03:07GMT)
US Relies on Foreign-Born Scientists While Many Educated Scientists in US Remain UnEmployed
"A growing percentage of scientists and engineers in the United States come from other countries, the National Science Board reported on Wednesday... It found that foreign-born workers with bachelor's degrees represented 17% of all science and engineering positions held by people with bachelor's degrees, 29% of master's degree positions and 38% of PhDs."
2003-11-19 21:15PST (2003-11-20 00:15EST) (2003-11-20 05:15GMT)
Gene A. Nelson & Frosty Wooldridge _MichNews_
An American Scam: H-1B Visas
"However, today, after one decade, 890K high tech American citizens were forced to train foreign workers and then were fired via the H-1B visa program. In 2000, not satisfied with 115K visas per year, Congress increased the annual quota to more than 195K visas. That visa is why you hear a foreign voice with broken English when you call for high tech help. It's your clue that another American citizen is out of work. Millions of college-trained American citizens have suffered unemployment via Congressional actions. While employers raise the false claim that positions are being 'off-shored', in reality, immigrants from nations such as India, [Red China], and Russia are displacing American citizens while eroding American wage scales. Simultaneously, the economic elite, who capture most of the value added by these professionals, are experiencing unprecedented increases in their personal wealth -- as working Americans's economic stability teeters on the brink... Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman described the H-1B visa program as another government subsidy (to employers) in 2002."
2003-11-20 05:15PST (08:15EST) (12:15London) (13:15GMT)
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair Hold Joint Press Conference
"Once again we're reminded of the evil these terrorists pose to innocent people everywhere and to our way of life. Once again we must affirm that in the face of this terrorism there must be no holding back, no compromise, no hesitation in confronting this menace, in attacking it, wherever and whenever we can, and in defeating it utterly... Because it is in a free, democratic and stable Iraq that not just the violence, but the wretched and backward philosophy of these terrorists will be defeated and destroyed."
2003-11-20 06:58PST (09:58EST) (14:58GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims fall: fewest since 2001 February
"The 4-week average of initial claims for state benefits dropped by 9K to stand at 367,250 in the week ended November 15, the department said. That's the lowest since the week ended 2001 February 24, just before the nine-month-long recession began. Read the full report. At an average of 367K, the level of new claims is approaching the 350K mark that could signal sustained job growth in the economy... The number of new claims in the most recent week fell by 15K to 355K, down from a revised 370K. The insured unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 2.8% for the week ended November 8, the department said... The average number of workers continuing to receive unemployment insurance over the past four weeks fell 1,500 to 3.5M, the lowest reading since March 15. The latest weekly figures don't include some 820K workers receiving extended federal benefits. In October, about 8.8M people were classified as unemployed. Of those, 2.02M, or 23%, had been out of work longer than 6 months."
2003-11-20 11:00PST (14:00EST) (19:00GMT)
New evidence of meteor-caused extinction 250M years ago
"Researchers studying rocks from Antarctica have found chemical evidence that a huge meteorite smashed the Earth 251M years ago and caused the greatest extinction event in the planet's history, killing about 90% of all life. The extinction, which scientists call the Permian-Triassic event, came some 185M years before a similar meteorite collision with the planet killed off the dinosaurs."
2003-11-20 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & John Zarrella & Peter Viles & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
FTAA protests, illegal aliens
"Radical Islamist terrorists linked to al Qaeda today killed at least 27 people, they wounded 450 others in almost simultaneous bomb attack against British targets in Turkey; 17 people were killed at the British Consulate in Istanbul, 10 at the Turkish headquarters of the HSBC Bank... This afternoon, right here behind me on streets, police using pepper spray, firing into the crowds, moving the protesters back. They had gotten too close again to the trade center area. And this was just one of several skirmishes today... some of the protesters, using grappling hooks, tried to throw those grappling hooks over the fence and pull that fence down that surrounds the compound where the Free Trade Area of the Americas meetings are going on... About 10K people did gather here today for a sanctioned AFL-CIO rally... big American companies desperately want more of them [free trade agreements]... [They] make it easier for multi-national companies to comparison-shop for new factory locations... foreign investments in Mexico more than quadrupled in the decade after NAFTA was signed. Mexico wasn't seen as a market, so much as a factory... Edwin Bowers of the USDA Fever Tick Eradication Program: 'They eradicated the fever tick from the United States, but Mexico is still fever-tick infested. We maintain this quarantine to keep the ticks from being reintroduced on stray or smuggled Mexico live-stock.'... Tick-infested cattle can devastate a herd. Cattle sicken and die in 3 days. A single tick can lay 3K eggs... TB has been on the decline in the United States since 1953. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found, more than half of all cases of TB in the U.S. were in foreign-born people. The rate of TB in foreign-born people is 8 times higher than among people born in the United States. The CDCP says, in its current surveillance report, the top five countries of origin of TB cases, Mexico, the Philippines, VietNam, India and [Red China]... Tom Tancredo: 'the primary responsibility of the federal government of the United States is not to educate anybody's children. It is not to build anybody's roads or provide social service benefits. The primary responsibility for this government is to provide security for this nation, for its people and its property. And so my bill...starts with a significant increase in the number of Border Patrol authorized, actually 20K authorized. It authorizes the president, encourages the president to use the military on the border. It doubles the number of people... Why in the world would we spend so much time and energy and thank god in a way we do, we spend so much time and energy identifying people in this country who have come here to do us great harm? Well, we have been told over 200 plots have been thwarted inside the United States by people in the Justice Department and the good work they do. But why in the world would we not try to stop them at our border?... And you have to put people in jail if they continue to hire people illegally. You have to fine them. You have to aggressively go after them... On the one side we have the Democratic party that looks at massive immigration, both legal and illegal as a source of voters, potential voters. On the other side we have the Republican party that sees massive immigration, legal and illegal, as a source of cheap labor...'... And finally, the average American worker can expect a raise next year of 3.3%, Lou. That's about a percentage point ahead of what people are expecting for the inflation rate next year, but it's the fourth year in a row below 4% for raises."
_Indianapolis Indiana Star_/_AP_
Governor Joe Kernan cancels contract with India firm
"Governor Joe Kernan today canceled a contract with an over-seas company hired to upgrade state computers and announced plans to create a new program to steer more contracts to Indiana businesses... Tata America International Corp., a New York-based subsidiary of a Bombay, India, [conglomerate, and affiliate/subsidiary of TCS], was hired for a 4-year project to upgrade computers used to process unemployment claims at the Department of Workforce Development... Rather, he explained, the way the contract was designed 'effectively eliminated Indiana companies from being able to participate, and that is not the way I choose to do business'."
2003-11-20 22:11PST (2003-11-21 01:11EST) (2003-11-21 06:11GMT)
Karin Laub _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Scholars Discover Parts of New Testament
"A barely legible clue -- the name 'Simon' carved in Greek letters -- beckoned from high up on the weather-beaten facade of an ancient burial monument. Their curiosity piqued, 2 Jerusalem scholars uncovered 6 previously invisible lines of inscription: a Gospel verse -- Luke 2:25... Jim Strange, a New Testament scholar from the University of South Florida, said the ancients apparently believed chiseling Scripture into monuments debased sacred words. The widespread use of Bible verses on shrines began only around 1K AD, in Europe, said Strange, who was unconnected with the discovery. The inscription declares the 60-foot-high monument is the tomb of Simon, a devout Jew who the Bible says cradled the infant Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah. It's actually unlikely Simon is buried there; the monument is one of several built for Jerusalem's aristocracy at the time of Jesus. However, the inscription does back up what until now were scant references to a Byzantine-era belief that 3 biblical figures -- Simon, Zachariah and James, the brother of Jesus -- shared the same tomb. Earlier this year, an inscription referring to Zachariah, who was John the Baptist's father, was found on the same facade... The Simon and Zachariah inscriptions were carved around the 4th century, at a time when Byzantine Christians were searching the Holy Land for sacred sites linked to the Bible and marked them, often relying on local lore, said Puech."
2003-11-21 13:54PST (16:54EST) (21:54GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks hold afternoon gains
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 9 points, or 0.1%, at 9,628. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 11 points, 0.6%, to 1,893. The S&P 500 edged up 1.6 points, or 0.2%, to 1,035. Advancers led decliners 1,906 to 1,279 on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1.25G shares changing hands in a light session. On the Nasdaq, winners out-numbered losers 1,713 to 1,419 on volume of 1.58G shares."
2003-11-21 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester & Casey Wian & Bill Tucker _CNN_
illegal immigrants, rocket attacks in Iraq
"Insurgents today launched a brazen attack against Iraq's oil ministry and 2 hotels in the heavily guarded center of Baghdad. The insurgents launched more than a dozen rockets from carts pulled by donkeys. Two people were wounded in the attacks, one of them an American civilian contractor... Law-makers on Capitol Hill are also working on some last-minute lobbying to sway colleagues in tonight's vote on the $400G Medicare bill. One major obstacle, the issue of allowing private health plans to compete with government-run Medicare... The U.S. government estimates 40% of U.S. visitors over-stay their visas... At least 2 of the 2001/09/11 hijackers were in the country on expired student visas. A new exit/entry program called U.S.-Visit went into effect at the nation's busiest airport in Atlanta and will be implemented at more than 100 airports by January. Sea ports and border entry points will be phased in over the next year. Visitors will have their two index fingers digitally scanned and a digital photo taken when they enter the country and will have to check out when they leave. Travelers from Canada, Japan and most European countries that do not need visas are exempt from the program. U.S.- Visit is designed to keep terrorists out and to stop the flow of illegal immigration... The United States caps the number of permanent immigrants to no more than 26K people per country every year. 28M visitors arrived in the United States in 2002, most coming from just 4 countries... The program does not impact the thousands of people who by-pass the visa system, sneaking across the border... When we last visited Army Specialist Hilario Bermanis, he was becoming an American citizen, yet the physical and emotional wounds he suffered fighting for his adopted country were still too fresh for him to speak about the experience... Tommy Thompson, secretary of HHS: 'this is a voluntary program. Seniors can join it or they don't have to join it. They can pick and choose. That's the beauty of this plan, that there's going to be, for the first time, seniors in America are going to have choices... they can pick and choose the best program for themselves and their families.'... Bread makers are not loafing around, but rising to the low carbohydrate challenge, gathering in Providence, Rhode Island for the very first national bread summit... Beef sales have risen 12 of the last 14 quarters, and cattle stock has dropped to 30-year lows. Even beer companies are advertising their carb contents... you can also get low-carb high protein chips to go with that beer... Steve Shepard of _Business Week_: 'Yesterday in Michigan, they announced the unemployment rate for October went up to an 11-year high.'... Steve Forbes: 'Korea has 100 times more broadband than the United States. It's crazy.'"
Simon Romero _NY Times_
US and Brazil End FTAA Talks
"The United States and Brazil abruptly called an early end on Thursday to talks aimed at creating a 34-nation trade agreement in the Western Hemisphere after concluding there was little left to discuss here aside from a vague framework that allows officials to continue negotiating... But in several ways, the conclusion of the negotiations laid bare the difficulty United States negotiators had in making concessions sought by Brazil and Argentina on agricultural tariffs and subsidies. Such changes would have put President Bush in a difficult situation in critical electoral states like Florida, which has large sugar and citrus industries, and in several states on the Plains and in Georgia, where beef production is important. In fact, the United States and Brazil reached a deal in the days before this week's talks that removed difficult agricultural issues from the negotiating agenda, in addition to topics like intellectual property protection and government contracts, effectively shifting these areas to conflict-resolution negotiations in the W.T.O. Resistance to that deal from a group of 13 countries led by Canada and Chile withered this week after the United States and Brazil made it clear they had little intention of changing their positions."
Kenneth Chang _NY Times_
Smaller Computer Chips Builg Using DNA as Template
"The Technion-Israel scientists constructed transistors out of carbon nano-tubes, cylindrical molecules that are about one ten-millionth of an inch in diameter and resemble rolled-up chicken wire... Scientists at Duke University reported in August that they had coated DNA with silver to produce ultra-thin wires. The Israeli group is the first to use DNA to build a working electronic device. 'It's a very interesting demonstration of a completely new concept of assembling devices.', said Dr. Cees Dekker, a professor of physics at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands who research group made the first nanotube transistor in 1998... A special protein helps connect the replacement DNA to the desired location. By attaching a nano-tube to the protein, the nanotube moves to an exact location along the DNA strand... The scientists then coated the DNA with gold, producing a simple electronic device consisting of the nano-tube connected to gold wires at each end. Current through the nano-tube could be switched on or off by applying an electric field -- the definition of a transistor."
Mark Landler _NY Times_
Germany's East Is Able to Prevent Industrial Flight to Third World
"There is a simple explanation why Dresden edged out other cities and towns, including East Fishkill, NY, and Austin, TX. The government here kicked in $1.5G worth of subsidies, financing and loan guarantees - a dollop of largess that most American cities would not match. But there are other, perhaps more important reasons for Advanced Micro's decision, and they speak to the complex nature of the global battle for foreign investment. Education, infrastructure, the lack of export restrictions on technology, even the Protestant work ethic in this old city - all played a role in the company's choice. For nations like Germany, with high labor costs, promoting these less tangible qualities is the only way they can hope to compete for big projects against low-cost Asian countries, particularly [Red China]... Still, the nature of German industry - with its emphasis on highly engineered, capital-intensive products - has made it less vulnerable to a wholesale transfer of factories to [Red China]... 17% of the work force has a college education, an unusually high percentage in the former East Germany. Wages in Saxony, while higher than in Eastern Europe, are 15% lower than [85% of those] in western Germany. And labor unions hold less sway here - made clear by the inability of the large and militant union, IG Metall, to force a reduction in the work-week here to 35 hours from 38. 73 American companies now have operations in Saxony, employing more than 10K people... The jobless rate here is 16.5%."
Doreen Hemlock _South Florida Sun-Sentinel_
FTAA seeking data on Miami, 7 cities as possible HQ
"Miami and other cities vying to be chosen as head-quarters for the Free Trade Area of the Americas pact have until March 1 to submit data on flights, hotels, visas and other basics for evaluation."
Dan Chapman _Atlanta Georgia Journal-Constitution_
Police put squeeze on FTAA protesters
"The at-times bloody skirmishing between police and protesters had mostly played out by late Thursday afternoon as the 10K or so anti-globalization marchers headed for their buses, homes and hotel rooms... Atlanta's Dana Powell, a non-violent protester, couldn't fathom the mayhem unfolding just yards away as police advanced on the protesters. 'A lot of people are getting hit with rubber bullets. They're shooting tear gas. Things are really getting crazy.', she said. 'I cannot believe this is the United States I am looking at right now.'... By early evening, 40 demonstrators had been arrested and dozens injured, some with heads bleeding. Two police officers were slightly injured. Asked if the images of violence would damage Miami's bid for the FTAA headquarters, Eric Rubin, a South Florida activist, responded: 'What do you think? All those pre-emptive arrests? The police arresting people without cause? This is a total and absolute denigration of democracy, civil liberties and civil rights.' Rubin echoed the complaint of many of the 10K anti-globalization demonstrators: An FTAA agreement would give power to multinational corporations at the expense of the hemisphere's citizens, the environment, the working poor and myriad other constituencies represented in Thursday's protest... The police, attempting to clear the streets, responded with rubber bullets, concussion grenades and tear gas. Powell of Atlanta, a graduate student in anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, watched as a 50-something woman reeled in pain from a rubber bullet strike. 'The police are controlling this moment with absolute force and it's completely uncalled for.', she said."
Christy McKerney & Ann W. O'Neill _South Florida Sun-Sentinel_
Lawyers say rights trampled in arrests linked to FTAA meeting
"A Miami man is sitting in jail because police say he drove down the street with an open container of beer. His bail? $10K. [The offense normally calls for a $500 bond.] A teen-ager from New Jersey is locked up because police say he rode a bicycle through the streets of Miami in the middle of the night and refused to say what he was up to. Bail: $20K... The pattern includes high-profile mass arrests, followed by high bail, culminating in a few weeks or months with low-profile dismissals..."
_San Diego California Union-Tribune_
Miami compromise on FTAA
"Brazil, which boasts Latin America's largest economy, was unwilling to make concessions on intellectual property and foreign investment unless the United States was willing to cut its farm subsidies. Meanwhile, U.S. trade negotiators said reductions in farm subsidies could only be agreed to in trade talks with Europe and Japan, which subsidize their farmers much more generously than the United States. With the prospect of impasse in Miami, the United States and Brazil cobbled together a compromise involving a 'balanced set of rights and obligations'. What that means, in plain English, is a scaled-back FTAA that essentially allows countries to opt out of any trade provisions, to be negotiated in future talks, that they don't like. So if most agree to language opening up, say, specified service industries to foreign businesses ñ like telecommunications ñ and one nation, say Brazil, disagrees, it doesn't have to adhere to that provision of the FTAA."
Brian Donohue _New Jersey Journal_/_Newhouse News_
INS workers took bribes for green cards
"When immigrants applied for work permits or green cards at the Newark offices of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1999, one former officer has testified, he would often take the money orders, cash them for himself and stash the applications in a locker. Another former INS supervisor testified she accepted $40K to $70K in bribes to create fraudulent work permits for more than 50 illegal immigrants."
Frank Cerabino _Palm Beach Florida Post_
Most protesters fear losing jobs
"it would be wrong to discount Thursday's massive downtown protests against free-trade talks as some kind of anarchists' field trip. The reality is that most of the free-trade protesters were neither young, dangerous nor radical. Most were working people who saw a potential Free Trade Area of the Americas as nothing but a clever way for corporations to wring out extra profits at the expense of workers who would either lose their jobs overseas or be forced to work for less than a living wage. Most were like the 10 bus-loads of ironworkers from West Palm Beach who came because they were fearful that a free-trade agreement would make it easier for contractors to hire third-world workers who would work for less than the $11.69-per-hour apprentice pay that they receive... The average citrus picker makes only about $250 a week as it is, he said... The legions of heavily armed police officers in down-town Miami... looked more like an army occupying a hostile country than anything else."
2003-11-21 17:07PST (20:07EST) (2003-11-22 01:07GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
States with Year's top job growth (with map)
"Nevada led the country with 3.3% more total jobs in the 12 months ended in October, according to U.S. Labor Department figures released Friday. Total employment in Idaho and Georgia jumped 1.8%, while Hawaii gained 1.7% and New Mexico rose 1.6%. The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 6.0% in October, yet rates fell in 36 states from a month earlier. Unemployment claims in the past four weeks dropped to a 33-month low, and total nationwide job gains in August, September and October were the highest in more than a year, with 286K jobs created... many of the new jobs are temporary positions, in lower-paying retail and food-services fields, and in the health-care industry, which added jobs throughout the economic down-turn... The U.S. unemployment rate is barely 2 percentage points above the 3.8% recorded in 2000 April - the lowest jobless rate in the nation's history. Many states typically hardest hit in recessions are close to their historical lows -- and well below post-Depression Era highs. West Virginia, where unemployment peaked at 19.5% in the early 1980s recession, is now at 5.6%, vs. a record low 4.6% in 2001 October... Florida added 94,100 jobs in the last year, a 1.3% increase that put it among the top 8 states for job growth. Florida's gains were primarily at temp agencies, public schools and in specialty construction jobs such as masonry, electrical, and plumbing. Alaska, whose percentage gain equaled Florida's, added just 3,800 total jobs, and its 7.3% jobless rate ranks among the highest in the nation. Yet Alaska saw increases in accounting, engineering and architectural positions, which state officials found cause to celebrate... South Carolina, whose employment rolls fell 2.1% in the last year, the worst loss of any state."
2003-11-22 07:13:06PST (10:13:06EST) (15:13:06GMT)
Rob Varnon _Connecticut Post_
Work sent off-shore may not be cheaper
"The survey by Gartner Inc. said 27.6% of companies either saw no cost reductions or experienced increased expenses as a result of out-sourcing their information technology work... some companies may have underestimated the importance of the human factor in information technology projects... Lily Mok... said one of the prime costs that companies forget to account for comes from managing outsourced projects, which average 4.5% of the total contract and can range as high as 15%... There are also costs associated with the transition period because of cultural differences with the contractor and the time and effort it takes to make the transfer, according to people3. The report found that 18.4% of companies responding did not find any savings and 9.2% experienced increased costs. But the report also found that 21.1% of companies claimed savings greater than 20%. The remaining 51.3% reported some kind of savings, people3 said."
Lou Dobbs _NY Daily News_
Beware trade winds
"My first and principal fear is that our politicians continue to advocate and negotiate trade agreements without profound understanding of the impact on the lives of average Americans. And they negotiate these deals without enunciating a clear vision of how our quality of life in this country will be affected. U.S. companies and multi-national corporations operating in the United States are pushing hard for the Free Trade Area of the Americas, arguing it will open new markets for the United States' $10T economy... Proponents of NAFTA declared the 1994 pact would create 170K U.S. jobs annually. Instead, at least 750K jobs were lost through the end of 2002 as a direct result of NAFTA... Mexican manufacturing wages actually fell 21% between 1993 and 1999, and the percentage of Mexicans living in poverty now includes more than two-thirds of the population. As a consequence, NAFTA has stimulated illegal migration to the United States. Nearly 5M Mexican illegal aliens reside here, and more than half of them have crossed our border over the last decade... While U.S. exports to Mexico and Canada have increased by 57%, imports have risen 96%. As a result, the U.S. trade deficit with those 2 countries has ballooned from $9G in 1993 to $87G last year - and it's only getting worse... Since the implementation of NAFTA, about 33K small farmers have gone out of business - more than six times the pre-1994 rate. [FTAA] would likely force Florida's 90K citrus growers to join those out-of-work farmers."
Steven Gans _about_
ADH2*2 Gene Discourages Alcoholism in Jews
"The gene, ADH2*2 is a rare variation of ADH2, which produces a more active form of alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme that catalyzes the first step in alcohol metabolism. However, explains lead author Deborah Hasin, Ph.D., from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, 'the exact reason why ADH2*2 tends to discourage heavier drinking isn't known'. 'Recently, reports have shown a relatively high prevalence [approximately 20%] of ADH2*2 in Jewish samples... suggesting that ADH2*2 is one of the factors explaining the low rates of alcoholism in this group.', Hasin notes. Earlier research has shown that differences in religious practice and level of religiosity cannot account for these low rates. Indeed, recent investigations have demonstrated 'significant relationships between ADH2*2 and alcohol use... in all Jewish groups studied', Hasin reports. Those with the variant gene have been seen to drink less frequently, consume less alcohol overall or have more unpleasant reactions to alcohol. Until the present study, however, the relationship between ADH2*2 and level of dependence on alcohol was not explored. Hasin and her colleagues recruited 75 Israeli Jews aged 22-65. Trained interviewers employed a widely used questionnaire to assess each participant's current, past and life-time level of alcohol dependence. 68 of the participants provided genetic material to test for the presence of ADH2*2. The results revealed that participants with ADH2*2 had significantly lower indicators of alcohol dependence over their life-times... The protective effect of ADH2*2 on alcohol dependence severity appeared stronger among the two more established groups of Israeli Jews, the Ashkenazis (those of European background and arrivals from Russia before 1989) and the Sephardics (those of Middle Eastern and North African background), than among more recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union."
2003-11-23 16:29PST (19:29EST) (2003-11-24 00:29GMT)
Indians bribe their way to American Dreams
"Investigations into rampant corruption at an office of the US Immigration and Naturalisation Service (INS) has uncovered that illegal immigrants from India were among those who paid bribes to get legal status. The staffers at the Newark office are accused of taking bribes running into thousands of dollars to issue fraudulent green cards, work permits and other documentation to immigrants, reports the New Jersey daily Star Ledger. During a federal corruption trial, former INS workers admitted that employees often approved immigrants for legal residency not because they were eligible but because they had paid bribes to a middleman who paid off federal workers. New Jersey resident Jerome Audige was convicted Thursday of bribing federal immigration staff to issue a fraudulent green card to an illegal immigrant who paid him $10K."
2003-11-24 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Dana Bash & Peter Viles & Louise Schiavone & Christine Romans _CNN_
health threats from abroad, Medicare bill, mutual fund scandals
"the $7T mutual fund industry... The bill will give a prescription drug benefit to some 40M older and disabled Americans... They will cost at least $400G over 10 years... [Bush] signed a $400G defense spending bill into law. Later, the president traveled to [Fort Carson] Colorado, where he met privately with the families of soldiers who have been killed on active duty... the president prefers to meet privately with families when he goes to military bases, just as he did today, and that he also prefers to send letters and, essentially, express his condolences in private... He's gone to Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune and other bases. And at all of those stops, nearly all those stops, he has had private meetings. The cameras have not been allowed in. But he has met privately with family members of those who died and also soldiers who have been injured... In 1960, the average American threw out 2.7 pounds of garbage per day. That amount rose steadily, peaking at 4.7 pounds a day in 1999, before dropping slightly as the economy weakened. Americans generate 229M tons of household trash every year... Paper is a major problem. It is a third of household garbage... New Yorkers...generate 12K tons of [trash] every day... Matt Hale, EPA: 'We have got, right now, almost 10K communities that have curbside recycling systems.'... the biggest out-break of hepatitis A in this country has now been traced to green onions imported from Mexico... 20% of our fresh fruits and vegetables are imported, but very little inspected. Green onions sickened 605 people and three died after they ate them... after out-breaks in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia... The FDA inspects only about 2% of fresh produce that crosses the country's borders. And even then, a visual inspection would not turn up the subtle signs of contamination... Starting December 12, foreign companies exporting food to the United States will have to notify the FDA about cross-border shipments. Distributors have to keep better records... The AARP invested $7M in a 1-week advertising blitz on Medicare reform... The AARP draws $186M of its $636M budget from dues; $108M comes into the organization from royalties paid on health insurance plans sold to its members. That amount alone constitutes 17% of total operating revenues... about 5% of Medicare beneficiaries take up about 50% of the spending... according to Medicare's own survey, just about 5% look at prescription drug procurement as a big problem. That amounts to something less than 2M people in this country... Richard Shelby, chair of the senate banking committee: 'nearly 100M Americans that have invested in mutual funds... I think business as usual and betrayal of the trust of the people who buy the mutual funds is too big, it is too important to ignore... I don't want to over-regulate anybody. But the accounting profession certainly couldn't regulate themselves. And I don't see how the New York Stock Exchange in view of what has been happening can regulate themselves.'... Hispanic immigrants will send back nearly $30G this year back to their home of origin that is far more than the $17G in foreign aid the United States sends over the entire world. This information comes from the results of a new study by the PEW Center and the InterAmerican Development Bank... [Delta] CEO Leo Mullin is retiring in the midst of crucial contract talks with its pilots. Mullin gets a retirement package of $16M. He earned $20M in 2001 and 2002. Last year he took a pay cut of $9.1M in response to criticism that Delta was protecting its executives' pension plans even as it was demanding concessions from its unions. And those concessions, Lou are deep. Delta wants pilot pay cuts up to 22% and laid off 16K workers since September 11th, and this company is still losing money. Another $164M in the third quarter... [He made] some $25M, $26M not counting retirement [over the last few years]."
_AP_/_San Jose California Mercury News_
Amid complaints Dell will stop using Indian tech support for corporate customers
"After an onslaught of complaints, direct sales computer king Dell Inc. has stopped routing corporate customers to a technical support call center in Bangalore, India. Tech support for Optiplex desk-top and Latitude note-book computers will be handled from call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, Dell spokesman Jon Weisblatt told The Associated Press Monday... the Austin American-Statesman reported Saturday that some U.S. customers have complained that Indian support operators are difficult to communicate with because of thick accents and scripted responses... Corporate customers account for about 85% of Dell's business, with only 15% coming from the consumer market. Consumer callers won't see a change in technical support, Weisblatt said, and Dell has no plans to scale back resources at the Bangalore call center... Worldwide, Dell employs about 44,300 people. About 54% are located abroad."
Tom Krazit _InfoWorld_/_IDG News_
Dell shifts some support calls back to US after complaints from customers
"Dell Inc. has brought some technical support work back to the U.S. after corporate customers complained about the quality of service they were receiving from workers in other countries, a Dell spokesman said Monday. The Round Rock, Texas, company has moved aggressively to shift technical support to centers in countries such as India, but complaints about the quality of technical support have caused the company to move support for its Optiplex desk-tops and Latitude note-books back to U.S. call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, among others, said Jon Weisblatt, a Dell spokesman."
Thomas Hoffman _ComputerWorld_
Job Satisfaction Survey: The tepid economy has created a slow burn in the IT work-force. With a boat-load of work to do, little training & a lack of confidence in their companies, today's IT workers are feeling over-taxed, dis-enfranchised and boiling mad
"56% of the 936 respondents said they are less satisfied with their companies than they were a year ago, and 55% said they're dissatisfied with their opportunities for advancement. Moreover, 69% of IT workers said they don't think they're working to their full potential, and 59% report being more stressed out than they were a year ago... At some companies, training has been cut due to budget constraints. In other cases, IT workers say they have training opportunities but don't have time to attend classes. To fill short-term project resource demands, many companies are opting to hire contractors who have specific skills while market prices are low."
Mark Stevenson _Georgia Citizen_
Frustrated Mexicans fear Red China is passing them by in international markets
Topeka Kansas Capital Journal
Sioux City Iowa Journal
Bradenton Florida Herald
"It is a trade war being fought in the streets of Mexico city: Mexico's army of 1.6M street vendors is resisting police attempts to confiscate imports from Red China, and the government has responded with everything from buy-Mexican ads to a special anti-import police squad... This year, Red China also displaced Mexico as the 2nd-biggest exporter to the US market, leaving Mexicans feeling cheated and worried the country is being left behind... Since 2000, Mexico has lost more than 200,000 maquiladora, or manufacture-for-export, jobs, with many factories moving to Red China... Sandra Santamaria, project director for Mexico's Apparel Industry Chamber. 'Labor in [Red China] costs 48 cents per hour, and in Mexico it's $1.20.'... Mexico has imposed dumping duties of more than 500% on Chinese apparel, but that hasn't stemmed the influx. Many Chinese goods are smuggled in or imported under labels from other countries. Not including these clandestine goods, Red China currently runs a trade surplus with Mexico of more than $5G."
_Labor Research Association_
New Round of Lay-Offs on the Horizon as Merger Activity Heats Up
"Although mass lay-offs declined in the third quarter of 2003, a new wave of lay-offs is gathering on the horizon as merger and acquisition activity gains strength... By mid-November, the value of mergers and acquisitions announced in 2003 by U.S. companies reached $447.1G, up from the $415.8G announced during the same period for 2002. Although this year's M&A activity is still just a fraction of the $1.4T record set in 1999, the upswing is a significant reversal of years of steady decline... According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the merger boom of 1995-1999 translated into a 12% increase in lay-offs during that period."
Linda R. Raber _Chemical & Engineering News_
2004 Employment Outlook
"These are difficult times for the U.S. economy, and chemical scientists have not been spared the fall-out. Unemployment for chemists -- as measured by unemployment of American Chemical Society members -- is at a record high. C&EN Editor-at-Large Michael Heylin reports that the jobless rate of 3.5% that the most recent ACS Salary Survey reveals as of March 1 this year is up from 3.3% a year earlier. It also exceeds the earlier all-time high of 3.2% set in 1972, the first year of this annual survey. Industrial chemists have been hit particularly hard."
2003-11-25 06:51PST (09:51EST) (14:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
2003 Q3 GDP revised to 8.2% increase: Stimulus produces fastest growth in 20 years
"The upward revision reflects more accurate data on inventories, business investment and trade. It will be revised again next month. The economy grew at a 3.3% rate in the second quarter and has now grown by 3.5% over the past 12 months, the best year-over-year growth in 3 years. Financial markets were largely unmoved by the report, as traders had priced in a healthy upward revision... In nominal terms, GDP rose at a 10% rate to an annual level of $11.06 trillion. Read the full report. Real final sales, which exclude the effects of inventories, rose 8% in the third quarter, the fastest increase in 25 years and a vivid illustration of how massive doses of fiscal and monetary stimulus hit the economy with full force... Profits from current production, adjusted for inventory valuation and capital consumption, increased by 11.8% sequentially and by 30% from the year-ago third quarter. Before-tax profits increased 16.4% on a year-over-year basis, and after-tax profits rose by 13.6%... Investments in equipment and software were revised higher to an 18.4% rate."
2003-11-25 07:47PST (10:47EST) (15:47GMT)
Consumer Confidence Is Up
"The Conference Board, a business research group based in New York, said its closely watched index of consumer confidence rose to 91.7, the highest level since the fall of 2002, from a revised 81.7 in October... In the Conference Board report, the percentage of consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' fell to 29.5% from 33.7%. The percentage saying jobs are plentiful rose to 13.2% from 11.8%."
more from the Conference Board
Neil A. Lewis _NY Times_
Chaplain Held in Espionage Case Is Freed
"The military said that it was releasing captain James J. Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guant·namo Bay, Cuba, after confining him for nearly 3 months on suspicion of espionage activities."
Thomas Hoffman _ComputerWorld_
Mixed signals appear on IT hiring front: While recent reports show a pick-up in demand, some CIOs predict a status quo 2004
"although some recruiters see a healthy rise in demand for tech workers, some CIOs say they have already absorbed as many IT staffers as they're likely to need in the coming months... Just last week, a survey of 300 human resources managers and recruiters conducted by New York-based Dice Inc. showed that 72% of respondents plan to hire more technology professionals over the next 6 months. The survey also found that 49% of organizations plan to hire more IT professionals than they did at this time last year... Unemployment rates remain high among IT workers, at roughly 6% of the high-tech workforce, compared with just 1.2% in 1997, according to a study conducted in September by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology, a Washington-based nonprofit group... Last week, the technology trade group AeA released a study indicating that high-tech job losses will total 234K in 2003, down 57% from the 540K decline in 2002."
2003-11-26 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US unemployment compensation insurance claims fall close to 3-year low
"The 4-week average of initial claims for state benefits dropped by 10K to stand at 358,750 in the week ended November 22, the department said. That's the lowest since the week ended 2001 February 10... The number of new claims in the most recent week fell by 11K to 351K, down from a revised 362K. That's the lowest since the week ended 2001 January 20."
2003-11-26 05:41PST (08:41EST) (13:41GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US unemployment compensation insurance claims near 3-year low: Latest week down 351K, 4-week average at 359K
"At an average of 359K, the level of new claims is approaching the 350K mark that could signal sustained job growth in the economy... The average number of workers continuing to receive unemployment insurance over the past 4 weeks fell 42,500 to 3.45M, the lowest reading since the week ended March 1. The latest weekly figures don't include some 820K workers receiving extended federal benefits. In October, about 8.8M people were classified as unemployed. Of those, 2.02M, or 23%, had been out of work longer than 6 months."
Subhro Niyogi _Economic Times of India_
Call centres survive ethics violations
"Executives were encouraged to mislead customers so as to meet weekly targets. The lies couldn't last long. As aggrieved customers flooded the companies with complaints, the UK and US-based clients pulled up their call centres here for 'unethical behaviour'. The damage control accomplished, things were back to normal... With a high attrition rate in the industry, companies struggle to invest in training. NASSCOM vice-chairman Sunil Mehta stressed that players would have to manage HR, security and quality standards to remain in business."
2003-11-26 10:48PST (13:48EST) (18:48GMT)
Curt Anderson _Atlanta Georgia Journal-Constitution_/_AP_
Former Human Rights Activist Admits Sending Technology to Red China
"A human rights activist whom the U.S. government helped free from a [Red Chinese] prison in 2001 pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally sending $1.5M worth of high-tech items to [Red China]. Gao Zhan entered the plea in federal court in Alexandria, VA, to one count of unlawful export and another count of tax evasion. Her husband, Xue Donghua, also pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Gao, a permanent U.S. resident alien, was arrested by [Red Chinese] authorities in 2001 February and convicted of spying for Taiwan... Among the items sent to [Red China] were micro-processors that can be used in digital flight control and weapons systems, including identification of targets... Gao was paid $1.5M by [Red China] for the micro-processors and other items, but prosecutors say she and her husband did not report most of the income on their tax returns."
2003-11-26 13:25PST (16:25EST) (21:25GMT)
Jerry Markin & William Branigin _Washington Post_
Scholar Guilty of Selling High-Tech Goods to Red China
"A former American University researcher who was once imprisoned in [Red China] as an accused spy for Taiwan pleaded guilty today to U.S. charges that she exported 80 micro-processors to the [Red Chinese] government that could be used in air-craft weapons systems. Gao Zhan, 43, entered her plea in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to charges of illegally exporting a controlled item and tax fraud. In a halting voice interrupted by occasional tears, she said she knew she needed a U.S. government license to export the sophisticated equipment but did not apply for one because she thought it would be denied."
2003-11-26 13:40PST (16:40EST) (21:40GMT)
Rex Nutting & Rachel Knoning _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
"The November Chicago purchasing managers index stood at 64.1% vs. 55.0% a month ago and topped expectations for 56.3%. Readings over 50% indicate expansion in the sector. It was the highest reading since 1994 October, the National Association of Purchasing Managers-Chicago said Wednesday... Demand for U.S.-made durable goods rose at the fastest rate in more than a year in October, the Commerce Department reported earlier. Orders for durable goods increased 3.3% in October after an upwardly revised 2.1% gain in September. Orders are up 9.8% in the past 6 months."
2003-11-26 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & David Ensor & Bill Bucker & Rob Roth & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
US-Red China relations, imported food, illegal immigration
"Their appearance at federal district court in Virginia, charged with illegal exports to China, is a surprise twist in the story of Gao Zhan and her husband, known until now in the West as critics of human rights [violations] in [Red China]. With tears in her eyes, Gao Zhan pled guilty to 2 charges, illegally exporting $1.5M worth of sensitive electronic components to [Red China] and tax evasion... [She] was imprisoned in [Red China] for 5 months on charges of spying for Taiwan [beginning in 2001 July]... [Red China] today accused Washington of unfair trade sanctions when Washington imposed tariffs on Chinese-made television sets. Incredibly, [Red China] has a powerful ally in this country. It is America's biggest retailer, WM... The latest trade spat between Washington and Beijing, Chinese manufacturers accused of dumping TV sets into the American market, the case brought by the last American-owned TV factory and by unions that have been hammered by cheap imports. But guess who stuck up for the [Red Chinese government] in Washington? That's right, their big customer, WM... Sony, for example, employs more than 2K people at a factory outside Pittsburgh. The dumping case brought by Tennessee-based Five Rivers Electronic , which makes Samsung and Zenith TVs, among others, and says it has had to cut off 600 jobs in the past 3 years due to low-priced competition from imports... 30% of the TVs sold here are made here... Come January, 120 National Guard soldiers from Marin County will be heading for Iraq. But the problem is, the military doesn't have enough flak jackets for them or the other National Guard troops... So today, law enforcement agencies from throughout Marin County donated more than 60 new and used bullet-proof vests, so the soldiers would have at least some protection... The hepatitis-A outbreaks in four states linked to green onions from Mexico has raised many concerns about the safety of imported foods. The government promises more inspections. The FDA now only inspects about 2% of the produce that is imported... Allan Meltzer: '[We see] 13% to 16% higher wages in the export industries than in the industries that we're losing.'... The constant need to upgrade to smaller, more advanced technology has led to an ever growing glut of used cell phones that are often simply thrown away... On average, they replace it every 18 months. Americans get rid of 100M cell phones a year... 500M are stashed away, mostly in drawers. But throwing them in the trash is a problem, they leak heavy metal and toxic chemicals into land-fills and pollute the air with toxins when they are burned... Recellular gets 10 tons of discarded phones a day, 4M a year. 75% are reusable."
Mary Williams Walsh _NY Times_
Pension Funding Relief Plan Fails to Clear Senate
"A measure that would have let the nation's businesses defer tens of billions of dollars in pension contributions over the next 2 years was beaten back... The Bush administration has also expressed opposition to far-reaching pension relief this year. Officials of the Treasury, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the agency that insures pensions, have said they would oppose any legislative break that they perceived as dangerously broad or that granted special breaks to individual companies or sectors. But in recent months, administration officials signaled that they might find pension relief acceptable if it were limited to 2 years and treated all companies the same."
Mark Landler & Paul Meller _NY Times_
France and Germany Given More Time to Curb Deficits
"Europe's finance ministers agreed to suspend the fiscal rules under-pinning the euro to give France and Germany time to reduce deficits."
Shihoko Goto _UPI_/_Washington Times_
OECD sees worst over for world economy
"As for the labor market, the agency expects job prospects to remain relatively steady, with the U.S. unemployment rate reaching 6.1% this year, and dip to 5.9% in 2004. In Europe, the [unemployment rate] is seen inching up from 8.0% to 8.1%, while in Japan, joblessness is projected to reach 5.3% this year and dip to 5.2% the following year."
Jennifer 8. Lee _NY Times_
Anti-Spam Bill Passes Senate by Voice Vote
"The bill allows the federal government, state attorneys general and Internet service providers to bring law-suits against bulk e-mailers who use deceptive practices like false e-mail addresses and subject lines. Enforcement officials estimate that over 90% of junk bulk e-mail comes from slightly more than 200 spammers... The bill out-laws several common spamming techniques, like using e-mail addresses gathered from the Internet or generated by computers. Under the legislation, bulk e-mailers could face up to $250 in penalties for each deceptive e-mail, up to a $6M maximum fine. Violators could also face up to 5 years in jail."
Eugene Kleiner, Silicon Valley Founder, Dies at 80
"A native of Austria who fled Europe before World War II, Mr. Kleiner settled in California in the mid-1950s when he and 7 other scientists from the East Coast were recruited by the Nobel Prize winner, William Shockley, to help build computer transistors. Mr. Shockley's recruits eventually rebelled and left the start-up to form their own company. After the defection, the men were tagged with an unflattering nickname, 'the traitorous 8'. With their subsequent achievements, the men would later be hailed as among Silicon Valley's founders. Besides Mr. Kleiner, the 8 included Intel's co-founders, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, as well as Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Jay Last and Sheldon Roberts. Using $3,500 of their own money, the entrepreneurs developed a way to manufacture multiple transistors on a single silicon wafer. The breakthrough enabled them to raise $1.5M from the Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation and start Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 October."
Paul Michelman _Harvard Business School_/_Harvard Management UpDate_
Your New Core Strategy: Employee Retention
"You think 1999 was a bad time to be hiring? That year 'was only a foot-print for what we'll see in 2008', [Jeff] Taylor says. 'We'll be facing the worst labor shortage in our life-time within the next 5 years.'... On a national stage, notes John A. Challenger, CEO of the Chicago-based out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 'the mood is grim. For those who have managed to avoid job cuts, morale has definitely suffered. One recent survey [of U.S. workers] found that 34% of respondents were likely to leave their jobs once the economy improved.' In addition, in an 2003 August study by Accenture [the new alias/spin-off of indicted Andersen Consulting], 48% of U.S. middle managers surveyed said they were looking for another job or planned to do so when the economy recovered. So for those companies that believe the quality of their people is central to building value, it may be time to reconsider the 'they have no place else to go' strategy of employee retention. Many firms are doing just that, and they are finding that the key to retention is found in a strategy that considers both their employees' personal aspirations (career development, recognition, reward) and the aspirations they possess for their organizations."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
More fraudulent shortage shouting by the NSF
2003-11-27 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Bill Tucker & Casey Wian & Peter Viles _CNN_
President Bush Visited Baghdad, Red China Agrees to Buy Car Parts, US Loses More Textile Jobs
"More than 2M American jobs have been exported in the last 2 years alone. The United States trade deficit with [Red China] is currently at record levels, and Americans are buying tens of billions of dollars worth of overseas products every month... Major retailers are in competition to sell their products at the lowest possible price no matter what the cost to the American worker... A Nike store in New York City. 99% of all Nike sneakers are made Asia, in factories like this one in [Red China]. At the Gap, 95% of products made in [Red China] and 50 other countries. All-American J. Crew, not exactly; 80% made in Asia. Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, and the largest importer of goods made from [Red China], $12G worth a year... The National Labor Committee has found in some extreme cases Chinese workers making just 3 cents an hour. A comparative retailing study by a private research group found U.S. workers making $8 an hour, while they were making $1.15 in the Dominican Republic, 35 cents in Mexico, 65 cents in Thailand, and 15 cents an hour in Indonesia... Constantine Menges of the Hudson Institute: 'If they're taking jobs today, millions of jobs, you can count on the fact that that $65M Boeing air-plane that will be sold now to [Red China] will in five years be produced by [Red China] for $15M or $10M and will drive Boeing out of business. I mean, [Red China] will take whole industries over with its unfree labor and unfair trade practices if it keeps going the way it's going.'... Don Evans, Commerce Secretary: 'We're the best competitors in the world. But we're going to demand a level playing field... And what I talked about when I was in [Red China] was their lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights. What I talked about in [Red China] was a continuing subsidies that enterprises receive from state-owned banks. What I talked about in [Red China] were non-performing loans in their banks. The official numbers 30%. I think it's probably closer to 50%... And what I talked about in [Red China] was the importance of them continuing to pick up the pace of meeting their WTO obligations and opening up their markets to American workers and American products... our economy creates about 8M jobs a quarter... And the key is to always have a net increase of job gains... Over the last 20 years we have created some 40M new net jobs. To give you the example of the last 10 years, we created about 342M new jobs, we lost 324M jobs, for a net gain of 18M jobs.'... I'm thinking of it in terms of $503G current account deficit, last year about $2.5T sitting out there of potential foreign ownership of the assets of this country. 14M jobs that are vulnerable to out-sourcing, and the significant exportation of high-value jobs, which just raises a host of issues... [Red China] is stealing U.S. technology. Global piracy of technology is a problem that costs American companies an estimated $200G a year. An Oregon technology company is just one of [Red China's] victims. The Chinese company has stolen and counterfeited its entire product line right down to its Web site... Somewhere in China Vdiax is counterfeiting the entire Videx line of hand-held data machines... William Sasser: 'They have [Red China has] 200M people in their country unemployed [out of over 3G], and they have to create 20M jobs every year.'... An estimated 1M foreigners working in this country entered on H1B and L1 visas... H1Bs are issued for accounting, architects and design, managerial and administrative positions and yes, even television positions. Sources within CNN admit that a little less than 2% of its work-force are H1B visa workers. CNN will not officially confirm that number, nor is it legally required to... As many as 14M American jobs are at risk of being exported... That from the co-author of a new University of California study that says as many as 14M jobs are at risk. That's 11% of the U.S. work-force. Average annual salary in those jobs, a shade under $40K. Biggest group of jobs at risk, 8.6M in office support... These are the average salaries for programmers, $60K to $80K in the U.S., $23K to $34K in Ireland, just under $9K in [Red China], even cheaper in India and watch out, India, cheaper yet in Poland and Hungary... Pillotex, a maker of sheets and towels, shut down in July, driven out of business by cheap imports. Nearly 5K workers lost their jobs... The federal government responded with $20M in emergency aid to extend unemployment benefits, offer free tuition at community colleges, and pay 65% of the cost of health insurance... Haywood transformed itself using the Kaisan manufacturing process, first popularized in Japan by Toyota. Simple changes, such as color coded tags for parts management and a resigned factory floor, increased productivity by 37%... Software developer Integnology is one tech company bucking the off-shoring trend. CEO Basheer Janjua, a U.S. citizen, says there's a large supply of displaced American I.T. workers with more skills than their over-seas counter-parts..."
Sam Dillon _NY Times_
School Is Haven for Homeless Children
"Homeless adults get little help from the government, since many poverty relief programs were dismantled in the 1990s. But a federal law that requires local districts to seek out and enroll homeless students and provide services to them has forced public schools across the nation to become safety nets of last resort, educators and experts on the homeless said. With unemployment and spiraling housing costs pushing a growing number of families into homelessness, school systems across the country are seeing more and more children... living in shelters, cars or motels. Some states are reporting a nearly 50% increase in homeless students over the last year... Nationwide, thousands of homeless families depend on free school meal programs to feed their children. And in compliance with the federal law, known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, school officials... arrange for homeless students to get immunizations and tuberculosis tests, dispatch taxis to take them from shelters to school and supply items like clothing and art supplies... In California, surging housing prices have resulted in the eviction of thousands of middle-class parents... nobody has gathered nationwide data since a 2000 report to Congress by the Department of Education. That report said there were 930K homeless youths, 621K of whom were enrolled in public schools."
Rights Figure Illicitly Aided the Chinese
"A Chinese dissident who was freed from prison with U.S. help has pleaded guilty to illegally selling American high-technology items with potential military uses to [Red China]."
Russell Shorto _NY Times_
The Un-Pilgrims of New Amsterdam
"the Dutch colony of New Netherland - which had as its capital New Amsterdam, precursor to New York City - has a ragged historical profile, which suits it because it was a jumble of ethnicities and had an excess of pirates and prostitutes. But its mixed nature is precisely the point. These forgotten pioneers forged America's first melting pot, making this holiday a particularly appropriate moment to recognize their achievement... It wasn't accidental that Swedes, Germans, Jews and others flocked to this colony, for the Dutch Republic of the 17th century was itself built on a policy of tolerance that made it the melting pot of Europe. The birth of tolerance in the Low Countries changed history. It made Holland the center of publishing, where Galileo and Hobbes printed their books free of censorship. The Dutch provided haven to exiled English royalty and peasants from across Europe who fled war and repression. It's often forgotten that the English Pilgrims, before taking a flyer on America, went to Holland in their search for religious freedom. They found it and then left for the same reason: they feared that amid the diversity of Holland their children would stray, and so opted to carve out an isolationist settlement in the New World... Santa Claus -- Sinterklaas -- was a saint whose annual arrival was first celebrated in New Amsterdam. Americans eat 'cookies' rather than 'biscuits' because the Dutch colonists gave their children koeckjes, literally 'little cakes', and so gave rise to an Americanism... Almost from the start there were 18 languages spoken in the capital's few streets."
2003-11-28 14:03PST (17:03EST) (22:03GMT)
Pete Yost _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Clark Command Post, Actions During Waco Atrocity Get New Attention
"An Army division commanded by Wesley Clark supplied some of the military equipment for the government's 51-day stand-off with a religious sect in Waco, Texas, and Clark's deputy, now the Army Chief of Staff, took part in a crucial Justice Department meeting 5 days before the siege ended in disaster, according to military records... retired Army lieutenant general Horace Grady 'Pete' Taylor, who ran the Fort Hood military base 60 miles from the site of the Waco siege. Waco 'was a civilian operation that the military provided some support to' and 'any decisions about where the support came from were my decisions, not General Clark's.', Taylor said this week... Much of the military equipment for Waco came from the Texas National Guard, including 10 Bradley fighting vehicles... One government list of 'reimbursable costs' for the 1st Cavalry Division specifies sand bags, fuel for generators and 2 M1A1 Abrams tanks... The list also specifies reimbursable costs of nearly $3,500 for 250 rounds of high explosive grenade launcher ammunition."
2003-11-28 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Kitty Pilgrim & Kris Osborn & Lisa Sylvester & Bill Tucker & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
"One day after President Bush's dramatic visit to Baghdad, a reminder today that the war goes on in Iraq and American troops are being killed almost every day. Insurgents today killed a U.S. soldier in a mortar attack in Mosul. The president visited Iraq, despite the persistent attacks on U.S. troops and on Iraqis. The continuing violence is one of the biggest potential threats to the president's reelection prospects... this specific trip...was conceived in mid-October... Up to 40% of retail sales are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas... Sales are now timed to expire at certain dead-lines to create frenzy, finely tuned shopping excitement organized and orchestrated... The National Retail Federation says retail sales are projected to be up this year about 3% to 5%. But prices are definitely lower... And now the Saturday before Christmas is when we have the biggest shopping day of the year, typically... the National Retail Federation estimates that consumers will spend as much as $217G this holiday season. In addition to that, consumer confidence jumped up 10 points to 91% projected for November... The 230M tons of garbage that Americans throw away every year isn't our only waste. This country also disposes of 41M tons of toxic waste from power plants, nuclear reactors and oil and chemical companies... America spends $480G at the federal and local level funding public schools from kindergarten through grade 12, that's more than we spend on defense..."
Study Finds Improvement in States' Finances
"State government finances are improving, with fewer budget short-falls, more control over spending and an increase in revenue growth for the first time in years, a new survey has found... the worst states have faced since World War II, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures... The latest survey by the conference, a national bipartisan group, found that 10 states had reported budget short-falls this fiscal year, a combined $2.8G. A year ago, 31 states had reported a shortfall that totaled $17.5G. Most states begin their fiscal year on July 1. The report said 34 states were on target to meet or beat their revenue estimates for the first quarter of the fiscal year. More than half the states said they were on target on the spending side of the budget, but 22 were spending more than they had budgeted. Last year, 29 states were over budget."
Paul Krugman _NY Times_
The Good News Is That the World's Poor Are Doing Better
"No third world nation had made the transition to advanced-country status since 19th-century Japan. Circa 1975 it seemed that the club of nations with decent living standards was no longer accepting new members. Now we know that the club isn't that exclusive, after all. South Korea and several smaller Asian economies have made a full transition to modernity. [Red China] is still a poor country, but it has made astonishing progress. And there are signs of an economic takeoff in at least parts of India. I'm not talking about arid economic statistics; what we've seen over the past generation is an enormous, unexpected improvement in the human condition... every one of those development success stories was based on export-led growth. And that growth is possible only if rising economies can expand into new markets..."
George W. Bush Secret Visit Took Weeks of Planning: President's Surprise ThanksGiving Visit to Bagdad
"Three hours from landing on a high-risk visit to Baghdad, President Bush was most anxious about keeping it a secret. 'I was fully prepared to turn this baby around. Come home.', Bush said later aboard Air Force One. To everyone's amazement the secrecy held. The world did not learn that Bush had spent 2 1/2 hours Thursday on a Thanksgiving Day visit to troops in Baghdad until his jumbo jet was again in the air, flying back to the United States, where he arrived early Friday, making it back to his ranch in Texas shortly before day-break. As the president was cheering up soldiers in a mess hall in Baghdad, news-casters back home were reporting that he was enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with his family at his ranch in Crawford, Texas... Addressing troops from the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne, and other units, Bush said he brought a message from home: 'We thank you for your service. We're proud of you and America stands solidly behind you... We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25M people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.'... Five reporters, 5 photographers and a camera crew and producer, sworn to secrecy, accompanied the president on the trip. Bush surreptitiously left his ranch in an unmarked car with tinted windows, riding with Rice and secret service agents... Reporters who joined the trip at Andrews had their cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices taken away by security officials until the plane was headed toward Iraq."
_WTN_/_Times of Tibet_
Boycott Red China Campaign's Hour Has Come
"A few years ago when we first started to organize our boycott campaign, and even last year when we first launched it internationally, we were essentially speaking to a world quite happy to go on buying cheap Chinese products and one that didn't really care about the consequences. Now with some millions of American jobs lost to [Red China], and a deficit of about $500G (almost one third of it owed to China), the situation has changed dramatically. And it's not only the USA that's hurting, Europe and Canada are too. Even poorer countries as Mexico, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and Cambodia have been losing jobs to [Red China]."
2003-11-28 10:39PST (13:39EST) (18:39GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks finish in the green
"Equity markets closed at 13:00EST but bonds had another hour of trading to go, not closing until 14:00EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 2.89 points at 9,782.46 while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.95 points, or 0.4%, to 1,960.26. The S&P 500 dipped 0.25 of a point to 1,058.20. Breadth in the overall market was much more positive. Advancers outnumbered decliners 1,821 to 1,199 on the New York Stock Exchange on volume of just over 480M shares. Nasdaq winners outpaced losers 1,746 to 1,225 on volume of nearly 700M shares... The euro surged to a $1.2012 record high against the dollar in London, and the British pound hit a fresh, 5-year high against the greenback in midmorning London trade. The dollar was weaker against the Swiss franc as well... The euro was recently up 0.7% at $1.1992. The pound rose to $1.7212 in morning trade, building on a rise to a 5-year high of $1.7155 Thursday."
2003-11-28 18:43PST (2003-11-28 21:43EST) (2003-11-29 02:43GMT)
Emanuele Ottolenghi _Manchester Guardian_
Anti-Zionism is anti-semitism: Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews
2003-11-29 12:59PST (15:59EST) (20:59GMT)
Carolyn Pritchard _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
First holiday shopping results rise
"The first retail signals from holiday shoppers showed gains Saturday, though not as much as last year's rebound from the 2001 debacle. Based on its network of retail outlets, ShopperTrak reported $7.2G of sales Friday, up 4.8% from the same day a year before. '[The number] is strong, especially against a year ago, which rose at 6.8%.', said Michael Niemira, lead consultant for ShopperTrak RCT's National Retail Sales Estimates... '[Retail] Inventory levels are at their lowest in 2 years. The message is to get out and shop early because at the end of the season your favorite item may not be left.', said Shepperd."
David Leonhardt _NY Times_
Rents Cut in Much of the US
"While rents have continued to rise in many big cities on the coasts, including New York and Los Angeles, they are falling in more than 80% of metropolitan areas across the country. Low interest rates in recent years have persuaded many families to move out of rented apartments and buy their first homes at the same time that developers have been putting up thousands of new rental buildings, leaving many landlords desperate to fill apartments. The portion of apartments sitting vacant this summer rose to 9.9%, the highest level since the Census Bureau began keeping statistics in 1956... Between late 2001 and this summer, the average rent per square foot fell 4.8% across the country, according to the National Real Estate Index, which is published by Global Real Analytics, a research company... That could [hasten] the end of a decade of rapidly rising house prices... The average rent in both Los Angeles and New York has risen about 4% since last year, according to Torto Wheaton Research. Rents in Boston and Washington have declined only slightly... The one exception is the San Francisco Bay Area, where rents have fallen more than 20% over the last 3 years, more than anywhere else... The long economic slowdown has left many people out of work or with less income, forcing some to move in with relatives or find room-mates. The supply of apartments has also spiked... But the biggest drag on rents, developers say, is the sharp increase in the number of Americans who [are paying mortgages on] homes."
Tracie Rozhon _NY Times_
They're Off and Shopping... but Seeking Sales
"Over all, the turn-out on Black Friday (the industry term for the day after Thanksgiving, when results for the year, hopefully, cross from red into black) was deemed 'good, but not spectacular', by Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation, a trade group based in Washington. 'It's a return to normalcy.', she said yesterday. 'We usually expect a 4% to 6% increase, and we are projecting 5.7% for the holidays.'... Last year, shoppers spent only 2.1% more than they did in 2001. Sales for the entire holiday season were predicted to be stronger than last year's - the average consumer will spend $671 this year, compared with $648 last year, according to federation estimates - but Americans are still spending conservatively, Ms. Mullin said."
America's Sugar Daddies
"Sugar growers in this country, long protected from global competition, have had a great run at the expense of just about everyone else -- refineries, candy manufacturers, other food companies, individual consumers and farmers in the developing world. But now the nation's sugar program, which guarantees a domestic price for raw sugar that can be as much as three times the world price, needs to be terminated... Only about 15% of American sugar is imported under the quota rules, and while the world price is about 7 cents a pound, American businesses that need sugar to make their products must pay close to 21 cents. Preserving this spread between domestic and world sugar prices costs consumers an estimated $2G a year, and nets the Fanjuls...tens of millions annually. The sugar exporters who are able to sell to the United States also benefit from those astronomical prices. The Dominican Republic is the largest quota holder, and one of the big plantation owners there is - surprise - the Fanjul family." 2003-11-29
Steve Jobs quoted in Rob Walker _NY Times_
The Guts of a New Machine
"Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it's this veneer -- that the designers are handed this box and told, 'Make it look good!' That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." --- Steve Jobs
D. David Beckman _WashTech_
AT&T Wireless trying to block employees' access to news stories about AT&T's off-shoring
"AT&T Wireless is now tracking all Internet browsing by its employees, at one point last week even blocking access to on-line media stories that were perceived by company officials as critical of its off-shoring activities. Employees reported last Thursday that when they attempted to read on-line news reports about AT&T Wireless off-shoring activities on the _Seattle Times_ and the _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_ web sites, a blocking alert appeared on their Web browsers warning them that access to those stories was blocked. 'Warning Notice', the alert reads. 'You have attempted to access a site that has been deemed inappropriate by our business and blocked from ALL internal access. A record of this request has been logged and will be provided to Business Security upon request.' Below the message, in capital letters, a line reads, 'PLEASE REFRAIN FROM ANY FURTHUR ATTEMPTS!'... Last Wednesday (November 19) _WashTech News_ and the _Wall Street Journal_ published stories detailing how AT&T Wireless is reducing its domestic 'IT' work-force, and forcing many current employees to train their foreign replacements. Internal company documents obtained by WashTech News show that the replacements are employees of Indian off-shore out-sourcing firms such as Tata Consultancy Services [TCS] and Wipro, Ltd."
Stephen S. Roach _NY Times_
The Productivity Paradox: We Aren't Working Smarter, We're Working Harder
"In the third quarter, productivity grew by 8.1% in the non-farm business sector - a figure likely to be revised upwards - and it has grown at an average rate of 5.4% in the last 2 years... In the first two years of the six most recent recoveries, productivity gains averaged only 3.5%... America's vast services sector, which employs fully 80% of the nation's private work force, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics... The numerator of the productivity equation, output, is hopelessly vague for services. For many years, government statisticians have used worker compensation to approximate output in many service industries, which makes little or no intuitive sense. The denominator of the productivity equation ó units of work time - is even more spurious. Government data on work schedules are woefully out of touch with reality - especially in America's largest occupational group, the professional and managerial segments, which together account for 35% of the total work force. For example, in financial services, the Labor Department tells us that the average work-week has been unchanged, at 35.5 hours, since 1988. That's patently absurd. Courtesy of a profusion of portable information appliances (laptops, cell phones, personal digital assistants, etc.), along with near ubiquitous connectivity (hard-wired and now increasingly wireless), most information workers can toil around the clock. The official data don't come close to capturing this cultural shift. As a result, we are woefully under-estimating the time actually spent on the job. It follows, therefore, that we are equally guilty of over-estimating white-collar productivity... To the extent productivity miracles are driven more by perspiration than by inspiration, there are limits to gains in efficiency based on sheer physical effort... there is no precedent for sustained productivity enhancement through down-sizing... Productivity growth is sustainable when driven by creativity, risk-taking, innovation and, yes, new technology. It is fleeting when it is driven simply by down-sizing and longer hours. With cost cutting still the credo and workers starting to reach physical limits, America's so-called productivity renaissance may be over before Americans even have a chance to enjoy it."
Austan Goolsbee _NY Times_
The UnEmployment Myth
"The last time growth was this good, in 1983, unemployment fell 2.5 percentage points and another full percentage point the next year. That's what happens in a typical recovery. So why not this time? Because we have more to recover from than we've been told. The reality is that we didn't have a mild recession. Jobs-wise, we had a deep one. The government reported that annual unemployment during this recession peaked at only around 6%, compared with more than 7% in 1992 and more than 9% in 1982. But the unemployment rate has been low only because government programs, especially Social Security disability, have effectively been buying people off the unemployment rolls and reclassifying them as 'not in the labor force'... in the late 1980s and early 1990s, people who would normally be counted as unemployed started moving in record numbers into the disability system -- a kind of invisible unemployment. Almost all of the increase came from hard-to-verify disabilities like back pain and mental disorders. As the rolls swelled, the meaning of the official unemployment rate changed as millions of people were left out... From 1999 to 2003, applications for disability payments rose more than 50% and the number of people enrolled has grown by 1M... Almost 200K people applied in October - up 20% from the previous month - tying the highest level ever."
Chuck Plunkett _Denver Colorado Post_
Jobs hard to find in day labor: Temp-work center sees drop in hiring
"Colorado's employment rate improved in October, when compared with the same period in 2002, from a seasonally adjusted 5.8% to 5.5%, records at the state's Department of Labor and Employment show. But many factors, including fluctuations in the temporary employment market, are blurring the picture on whether the labor market is to see any real gains... Hall said that temporary employment agencies in the Centennial State peaked at 42K workers placed in 2002 August, then dropped to 30,600 by 2003 February. Preliminary numbers show that in August, temp agencies placed 38,300 workers, only to lose momentum during September, when they placed 37K. They gained some ground in October, when they got employment for 37,600."
Alicia Caldwell _Denver Colorado Post_
"Blight" cases rise in Colorado: Land-owners crying foul as cities increase abuse of condemnation laws
"Arvada Urban Renewal Authority decided it wanted his land for condos, lofts and row houses. To Sorrentino, it was home, a place where he grew celery and peppers and raised a family. To the urban renewal authority, it was blight... In Colorado, statistics show that government use of condemnation - also called eminent domain - is on the rise. What started largely as a legal tool to acquire private land for roads and hospitals has turned into a way for government to forcibly buy land from a business or homeowner and sell it, usually to an entity that generates higher sales- or property-tax revenue... In 1999, 1,279 condemnation cases were filed, while in 2002, there were 1,640, according to statistics compiled by the Colorado Court Administrator's Office. Those numbers don't tell the whole story, because many land-owners decide to sell rather than fight in court... Scott Bullock [of the Institute for Justice] said that between 1998 and 2002, there were more than 10K completed or threatened instances of what are called private-to-private condemnation cases - cases in which private property is taken from one private land-owner to give or sell to another. Typically, blue-collar neighborhoods are targeted, he said. They're not too run down, and they usually don't offer the resistance that a wealthy area would."
_AP_/_Nashua New Hampshire Telegraph_
Special interest groups spend millions on issue ads
"The AFL-CIO has spent at least $1.5M on television ads, largely to attack a Bush _administration-backed plan that would change which workers qualify for over-time pay. MoveOn.org, a liberal online group that has spent about $1.2M on television ads, is critical of the war in Iraq and Bush's economic policies.... Nuclear Threat Initiative, $550K... Sierra Club $350K... Service Employees International Union, $250K... United SteelWorkers of America, $140K... Center for Community Change, $25K... League of Conservation Voters, $10K..."
2003-11-30 20:06PST (23:06EST) (2003-12-01 04:06GMT)
Roy Disney resigns, blasts Michael Eisner
"Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of the Walt Disney Co. and nephew of the company's founder, resigned from its board of directors Sunday and said Chairman Michael Eisner should resign as well, according to media reports... The Wall Street Journal quoted Disney as writing to Eisner: 'It is my sincere belief that it is you who should be leaving and not me.'... the biggest concern has been Disney's management of its ABC Television Network, which has languished at the bottom of the ratings among the 4 major broadcast networks for nearly 3 years running... Disney also indicated that he would also resign from his position aschairman of Disney's feature animation division, the Journal reported. Disney's animation division has been cut drastically, forcing the company to lean heavily on its partnership with Pixar and its expertise in 3-dimensional computer animation for box-office success. Pixar-Disney films are on a long winning streak -- capped by this year's box-office king, 'Finding Nemo' -- but the partnership is set to expire in 2005 with no renewal of the 2 companies' pact in sight. The division's own 2-dimensional, hand-drawn films have struggled at the box office while costs remain high."
Robert D. Gray _InsightLink Communications_
Are You Ready?
"a recent white paper issued by the National Association of Manufacturers is forecasting a 'skilled worker gap' beginning in 2004 and growing up to 5.3M workers by 2010, simply based on the assumption that the economy will return to its long-term growth rate of 3.0 to 3.5% per year... With these prospects, maximizing employee satisfaction and implementing effective retention strategies will become even more critical. However, two-thirds of managers are unable to quantify the cost of turn-over in their companies. Estimates of turnover costs range from 25% to almost 200% of annual compensation. Costs that are more difficult to estimate include customer service disruption, emotional costs, loss of morale, burnout/absenteeism among remaining employees, loss of experience, continuity, and 'corporate memory'. Knowing the cost of losing and then replacing an employee can help companies determine how much they can afford to invest in keeping them."
Metro Economies Surge, But with Lower Paying Jobs (pdf)
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark
Michael Fitzgerald _CSO: Chief Security Officer_
Big Savings Big Risk: U.S. companies continue a pell-mell rush into off-shore out-sourcing of software development. Those that haven't stopped to look at global intellectual property law are in for a big surprise.
"After confirming that what Verma possessed was indeed SolidWorks' source code, Day began negotiating on price, eventually bargaining him down to $200K for the code. The deal struck, Day got up and left the room. Then agents from India's Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) swept in and arrested Verma. Day was not arrested -- she is actually a special agent out of the FBI's Boston Cybercrime Unit and had gone under-cover to work with the CBI on this case, the first under-cover operation for the FBI in India. The arrest led to the first prosecutorial filing for out-sourcing-related intellectual property (IP) theft in India, in a case that may come to trial before year's end..."
David Southgate _Computer User_
Happy days might be here again for displaced IT workers
"B's story is hardly an anomaly. Independent career coach Michele Carbone, of Bridgewater, NJ, says nearly 50% of the attendees at her recent seminar on job search strategies were from high-tech professions. Every day she meets people who have been without work for 6 to 18 months. And many, such as Beeler, opt to leave technology, at least temporarily, to pursue some other field because the IT job market has been so tight... In 2003 August, the Chicago-based global out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. released figures that showed August marked the fourth consecutive month in which companies announced fewer than 100K lay-offs. While announced job cuts could increase another 36% by the end of 2003 according to historical data, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Executive Vice President Rick Cobb says the overall direction of lay-offs in the third quarter of 2003 indicates the economy may be improving. Part of Cobb's optimism comes from the knowledge that even during massive lay-offs, some employers continue to hire. Challenger, Gray & Christmas's examination of aggregate listings on job boards showed there were 83K technology jobs available in 2003 August."
"TITLE 8 - ALIENS AND NATIONALITY
CHAPTER 12 - IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY
SUBCHAPTER II - IMMIGRATION
Part II - Admission Qualifications for Aliens; Travel Control of Citizens and Aliens
Sec. 1184. Admission of non-immigrants
(g) Temporary workers and trainees; limitation on numbers
(1) The total number of aliens who may be issued visas or otherwise provided nonimmigrant status during any fiscal year (beginning with fiscal year 1992) -
(A) under section 1101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) of this title, may not exceed -
(i) 65,000 in each fiscal year before fiscal year 1999;
(ii) 115,000 in fiscal year 1999;
(iii) 115,000 in fiscal year 2000;
(iv) 195,000 in fiscal year 2001;
(v) 195,000 in fiscal year 2002;
(vi) 195,000 in fiscal year 2003; and
(vii) 65,000 in each succeeding fiscal year; or
(B) under section 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of this title may not exceed 66,000." --- US Code
[Compare to actual numbers approved and visas issued]
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