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Newsletter. Issue 2009-22. October 24, 2009

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Newsline Canada

U.S. federal deficit hits record high of $1.4 Trillion | 2009-10-17†

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. federal deficit of the 2009 fiscal year reached a record high of 1.42 trillion U.S. dollars, the Treasury Department announced Friday.

The U.S. government imbalance for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2009, more than tripled last year's record. As a portion of the economy, the deficit accounted about 10 percent, the highest since World War II.

For fiscal year 2009, the government collected 2.1 trillion dollars in revenues, a 16.6 percent drop from 2008, while government spending jumped to 3.52 trillion dollars, up 18.2 percent over 2008.

The Treasury Department projected that the deficits would total 9.1 trillion dollars over the next decade unless corrective action is taken. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner pointed to the skyrocketing federal debt as a result of the government's actions to tackle the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The Obama Administration launched a 787-billion-dollar stimulus bill to boost the economy and another 700 billion dollars to stabilize the financial system since the president took office at the beginning of the year. Besides, Geithner said, the debt was also a heritage of the George W. Bush period.

The 2009 deficit was largely the product of the spending and tax policies inherited from the previous Administration, according to the department. "This year's deficit is lower than we had projected earlier this year, in part because we are managing to repair the financial system at a lower cost to taxpayers," Geithner said.

"It was critical that we acted to bring the economy back from the brink earlier this year," White House budget director Peter Orszag said in a statement. "The president recognizes that we need to put the nation back on a fiscally sustainable path."

President Barack Obama has vowed to reduce the deficit once the economy returns to growth and the unemployment rate starts falling. But critics said the government lacks of the political will to take necessary steps to balance its budget, such as raise taxes and cut spending. The U.S. federal deficit is unsustainable if the government does not impose fiscal discipline, observed William Gale, senior fellow of the Washington think tank Brookings Institute.

Other economists believe that the debt and unemployment are key problems that will test the future of the Obama administration.

UN: Food, Economic Crises Leave 1.02 Billion People In Hunger This Year | 2009-10-15

ROME, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The food crisis in poor countries coupled with the global economic crisis had caused a spike in world hunger, with more than one billion people undernourished in 2009, the UN's food agencies said in this year's report on global food security issued on Wednesday.

The annual report was jointly produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP). "No nation is immune and, as usual, it is the poorest countries and the poorest people that are suffering the most," said FAO chief Jacques Diouf and WFP head Josette Sheeran.

However, the global financial turmoil has worsened an already grave situation. "Even before the food crisis and the economic crisis outbreak the number of hungry people had been increasing slowly but steadily, but with the onset of these crises world famine has increased sharply," the Rome-based agencies reported.

The FAO estimates that 1.02 billion people are currently undernourished, the highest since 1970.

The largest population of the undernourished is in the Asia-Pacific region (642 million people), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (265 million), Latin America (53 million) and the Middle East and North Africa (42 million). Some 15 million people suffer from hunger in the developed world.

The financial crisis has led to declines in foreign aid and investment in poor countries as well as in remittances from relatives working in wealthy nations, the report noted. "This loss of income is compounded by food prices that are still relatively high in the local markets of many poor countries," the FAO said.

The UN agencies urged increased investments in agriculture and safety nets "despite the financial constraints faced by governments around the world." For the FAO it is a crucial moment in global discussion on food emergency.

Following the High-Level Expert Forum on How to Feed the World in 2050, held in Rome on Oct. 12-13, world leaders will meet for the World Summit on Food Security on Nov. 16-18.

The UN agencies warned that "the World Food Summit target of reducing the number of undernourished people by half to no more than 420 million by 2015 will not be reached if the trends that prevailed before the crises continue."

Promoting Right To Life Requires Fighting World Hunger, Pope Says
By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Defending the right to life requires promoting and establishing food security, Pope Benedict XVI said. The current economic crisis has hit agriculture particularly hard, and governments and the world community must "make determined and effective choices" in investing in agriculture in the developing world, he said.

His comments came in a written message Oct. 16, World Food Day. The text was addressed to Jacques Diouf, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

According to the FAO, more than 1 billion people are undernourished and one child dies every six seconds because of malnutrition.

Those numbers have been on the rise because of soaring food prices, the global economic meltdown and a decline in aid and investment in agriculture, the U.N. agency said in a written report Oct. 14. The pope said combating hunger by guaranteeing that everyone has access to a sufficient and healthy food supply would be "a tangible manifestation of the right to life, which, even though it is solemnly proclaimed, remains too often far from its full realization."

The pope said, "More than a basic need, access to food is a fundamental right of every person and all peoples."

But the current economic crisis has hit the agricultural world especially hard, he said, urging governments and organizations to provide "a sufficient level of investment and resources" for agriculture. Any foreign aid must respect and protect local farming methods and avoid the inappropriate use of natural resources. Agricultural development must also respect rural life and "the fundamental rights of farmworkers," he added.

Fighting world hunger also entails "changing lifestyles and ways of thinking," as well as eliminating the structural causes that give rise to underdevelopment and food shortages, said the pope. Building food security can be done by investing in roads and infrastructure, irrigation systems, transport, the organization of markets and agricultural technology that takes advantage of local resources and is sustainable in the long term, he said.

Canadians are deeply unimpressive,
British diplomats claim in notes sent to Britain's Foreign Office over the past five decades.

Details of what British ambassadors really thought about their foreign hosts were disclosed Sunday after the release of frank, and sometimes outright rude, letters written to London from embassies around the world. The BBC obtained the letters under freedom-of-information laws.

Until 2006, ambassadors leaving a post traditionally sent a valedictory dispatch to London, offering a candid assessment of the country in which they had served.

In a 1967 memo, Roger Pinsent, Britain's outgoing ambassador to Nicaragua, was scathing in his criticism: "There is, I fear, no question that the average Nicaraguan is one of the most dishonest, unreliable, violent and alcoholic of the Latin Americans."

Lord Moran, high commissioner in Ottawa between 1981 and 1984, wrote that Canadians had limited talents: "Anyone who is even moderately good at what they do -- in literature, the theater, skiing or whatever -- tends to become a national figure. And anyone who stands out at all from the crowd tends to be praised to the skies and given the Order of Canada at once."

In a 1967 memo, Roger Pinsent, Britain's outgoing ambassador to Nicaragua, was scathing in his criticism.

"There is, I fear, no question that the average Nicaraguan is one of the most dishonest, unreliable, violent and alcoholic of the Latin Americans," Pinsent wrote.

Two years later, David Hunt - then high commissioner to Nigeria - said the West African country's leaders had "a maddening habit of always choosing the course of action which will do the maximum damage to their own interests."

"Africans as a whole are not only not averse to cutting off their nose to spite their face; they regard such an operation as a triumph of cosmetic surgery," Hunt claimed in his letter. The Foreign Office ended the tradition of valedictory letters in 2006, after a message from Ivor Roberts, Britain's departing ambassador to Italy, was leaked to the media.

Ottawa closing loopholes in tax-free savings accounts in proposed changes

OTTAWA - The federal government is changing the rules regarding tax-free savings accounts to close several loopholes.

The proposed amendments will make any income attributable to deliberate over contributions and prohibited investments subject to the anti-avoidance rules in the Income Tax Act. Any income attributable to non-qualified investments will also taxable at regular income tax rates, under the changes.

The tax-free savings accounts, which allow Canadians to contribute up to $5,000 a year, were introduced in the budget last year. Contributions to the accounts are not tax-deductible, but investment income earned in an account, as well as withdrawals, are tax-free.

Five Young Goans From Toronto In The 2009 Know Goa Programme Participants
Excerpts from:
Posted: 22 Oct 2009 03:23 PM PDT

Five young Goans from Toronto have been selected by the Non-Resident (NRI) Indian Affairs Office in Goa to participate in the 2009 Know Goa Program (KGP

They are:- Miss Michelle Dias, Miss Alicia DíSouza, Miss Vanessa Lobo, Miss Sandrina Rodrigues and Mr. Matthew Slaman.† The 2009 participants will begin their two week sponsored journey on November 29th in Goa where they will visit many educational, historical and cultural places of interest before travelling to the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the World Heritage monuments at Agra. Click above link for profiles of participants.

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