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Could a former president of Latvia make it as the European Union president?OPTIMISTIC Latvians are thin on the ground these days. The combination of fractious politics and a dismal economic outlook blunts the enthusiasm of even the most cheerfully patriotic soul. All the more reason, therefore, to applaud the announcement that the country’s former president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, is running for the job of president of the European Union.At first sight, Ms Vike-Freiberga’s chances seem vanishingly slim. And at a second glance they don’t look much fatter. On the plus side, she
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speaks perfect French. She is a woman. And she has no big enemies. Observers of Latvian politics in the years 1999-2007 (admittedly, not exactly a mainstream hobby in Brussels) remember her as an uncommonly effective president of that country. She proved a powerful bulwark against over-mighty tycoons bent on suborning Latvia’s independent institutions and a strong defender of probity in public office. ...
U.S. stocks were expected to open lower Thursday, as investors remained jittery ahead of a flurry of economic data.
Stocks ended mixed Wednesday, giving up bigger gains after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and said it will keep them low for an extended period.
In praise of the ideas of Russ AckoffIT IS hard to imagine a less enticing title for a book than “Introduction to Operations Research”. Yet Russ Ackoff, one of the authors of this tome of 1959, who died on October 29th aged 90, did not just help to define a nascent branch of industrial engineering. He wrote 30 other books, becoming one of the most influential management gurus of the 20th century in the process. His ideas about systemic thinking are vitally important today if the world is to come out of the current economic crisis in better shape than it went into it.Today’s c
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risis is the result of a catastrophic failure, primarily in the financial system but also of our economic and political systems. Mr Ackoff spent most of the past half-century as the premier evangelist of systemic thinking, which he contrasted with the reductionist, atomistic thinking that had long dominated humanity’s approach to problem-solving in his view. Time and again, he would point out, decision-makers faced with crises failed to heed Albert Einstein’s warning that “we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ...
U.S. stocks were poised to open with gains Wednesday, with investors looking to the Federal Reserve's policy statement due out in the afternoon.
Stocks struggled Tuesday, ending mixed, as investors mulled improved auto sales, surging commodity prices and Warren Buffett's buyout of railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe.
Can the world stop governments from paying for the over-exploitation of fish?OVERFISHING erodes future prosperity by destroying today a resource that could yield benefits indefinitely. Yet it is subsidised by billions of taxpayer dollars, euros and yen. Now a new chance to halt this insanity has emerged in the unlikely form of climate-change negotiations.Landlubbers hand pots of money to fishermen. Rashid Sumaila, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, estimates that in 2003 (the most recent year for which data are available), the world’s fishing subsidies were $25 billion-3
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0 billion. The value of fish landed in the same year was $82 billion. Furthermore, Dr Sumaila reckons that $16 billion of the subsidies either promote overcapacity by helping fishermen buy new or bigger boats or encourage overfishing by subsidising fuel. ...
A far better-than-expected third-quarter reporting period is nearly over, closing the door on the longest streak of declining profits since Thomson Reuters began tracking the numbers 15 years ago.
A stock rally fizzled out in the afternoon, with the Nasdaq turning negative and the financial sector erasing its sizable morning gains.
Now that the economy has broken its four-quarter long slump, will Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke be more open to the idea of raising interest rates sometime soon?
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