• Zippyjuan

    by Published on 12-29-2018 04:46 PM

    By Veronica Stracqualursi and Kevin Liptak
    December 29, 2018

    President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday freezing federal workers' pay for 2019, following through on a proposal he announced earlier in the year.

    The move, which nixes a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January, comes as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are expecting to begin the new year furloughed or working without pay because of a partial government shutdown.

    Trump told lawmakers he planned to scrap the 2019 pay bump for federal workers in August, saying the federal budget couldn't support it. In addition to the 2.1% pay increase, the executive order also cancels a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where workers are posted, called the "locality pay increase," that was due to take effect in January.

    The move does not affect a 2.6% pay increase for US troops next year that was passed as part of the massive defense spending bill Trump signed in August.

    more:
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/29/polit...eze/index.html
    by Published on 08-31-2018 11:12 AM

    by Tucker Higgins
    Thu, 30 Aug 2018

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that civilian employees of the federal government will not receive raises in 2019.

    In doing away with the 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase that was scheduled to take effect in January, Trump said he was working "put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course."

    Scrapping the raises will save more than $25 billion, Trump said.

    "I have determined that for 2019, both across the board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero," the president said in a letter addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI, and released by the White House. "These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well qualified Federal workforce."

    Congress could still authorize a raise despite Trump's letter. Lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement, and have until the end of the year to do so.

    The Trump administration proposed $143.5 billion in cuts to federal employee compensation in May, including substantial decreases in retirement funding. Also that month, Trump signed three executive orders that made it easier to fire civilian employees and put new limits on union activity. A federal judge invalidated many of the provisions in those executive orders on Saturday.

    more:
    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/30/trum...s-in-2019.html
    by Published on 07-23-2018 09:01 PM

    An excellent year of production combined with tariffs on it from China and Mexico in response to tariffs had over a million tons of meat piling up.

    http://kticradio.com/agricultural/me...-exports-slow/

    Meat is piling up in U.S. cold-storage warehouses, fueled by a surge in supplies and trade disputes that are eroding demand.

    Federal data, coming as early as Monday, are expected to show a record level of beef, pork, poultry and turkey being stockpiled in U.S. facilities, rising above 2.5 billion pounds, according to agricultural analysts.

    U.S. consumers’ appetite for meat is growing, but not fast enough to keep up with record production of hogs and chickens. That leaves the U.S. meat industry increasingly reliant on exports, but Mexico and China — among the largest foreign buyers of U.S. meat — have both set tariffs on U.S. pork products in response to U.S. tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods. U.S. hams, chops and livers have become sharply more expensive in those markets, which is starting to slow sales, industry officials say.

    The meat industry’s growing production already is filling the specialized warehouses built to store meat and other goods. “We are packed full,” said Joe Rumsey, president of Arkansas-based Zero Mountain Inc. The company’s five storage facilities serve as way stations for turkeys and chicken strips between processors and retailers, holding around 250 million pounds of products on any given day.
    Continued...
    by Published on 04-17-2016 10:38 PM

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-rele...bia-1460838120

    WASHINGTON—The U.S. transferred nine Yemeni detainees from the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said Saturday.

    The move brings the prison’s population down to 80, including 26 cleared for transfer if security conditions can be met. U.S. officials have said they expect that all of the prisoners currently approved for transfer will be released by the end of the summer.

    Many of the prisoners remaining at the facility are Yemeni and are difficult to relocate because the U.S. must find third countries to accept them because of unrest in Yemen. Saturday’s transfer comes ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip
    ...
    by Published on 04-16-2016 11:16 AM

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/15/wo...their-own.html

    BRASÍLIA — Paulo Maluf, a Brazilian congressman, is so badly besieged by his own graft scandals that his constituents often describe him with the slogan “Rouba mas faz.” Translation: He steals but gets it done.

    But like an array of other scandal-plagued members of Brazil’s Congress, Mr. Maluf says he is so fed up with all the corruption in the country that he supports ousting President Dilma Rousseff.

    “I’m against all the dubious horse-trading this government does,” said Mr. Maluf, 84, a former São Paulo mayor who faces charges in the United States that he stole more than $11.6 million in a kickback scheme.
    ...
    by Published on 07-31-2015 10:15 AM

    Things staying the same.

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsev.../20150729a.htm

    Release Date: July 29, 2015

    For immediate release

    Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June indicates that economic activity has been expanding moderately in recent months. Growth in household spending has been moderate and the housing sector has shown additional improvement; however, business fixed investment and net exports stayed soft. The labor market continued to improve, with solid job gains and declining unemployment. On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources has diminished since early this year. Inflation continued to run below the Committee's
    ...
    by Published on 07-18-2015 02:45 PM

    It's official. They now have 1,658 metric tons of gold reserves moving them up to fifth place among governments and central banks. That is a bit shy of 10,000 tonnes some speculated they must have.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl...ure-since-2009

    China Ends Mystery of Gold Hoard to Top Russia’s Holdings

    China ended six years of mystery over how much gold it’s hoarding, revealing a 57 percent jump in reserves and overtaking Russia to become the country with the fifth-largest stash of the metal.

    “The market has been speculating on the size of China’s gold reserves for years and the central bank has always been reticent until now,” Fu Peng, a portfolio manager at Lianzhan
    ...
    by Published on 07-11-2015 06:40 PM

    Interesting article on a hot topic in other threads I found interesting and wanted to give it it's own thread.

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/16/...ng-rights-imf/

    A lot of hyperventilation has lately been devoted to the future international role of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB). The latest flurry of excitement centers on China’s bid to have the RMB included in the basket of currencies represented in the Special Drawing Rights issued by the International Monetary Fund. According to accepted wisdom, the RMB’s inclusion in the SDR basket would be a landmark step, formal recognition of its coming-of-age as a global reserve currency. SDR status, many say, would give central banks the green light to add RMB to
    ...
    by Published on 06-18-2015 02:10 PM

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/...0OX2DX20150617


    The U.S. economy is growing moderately after a winter swoon and likely strong enough to support an interest rate increase by the end of the year, but concerns remain over the recovery of the labor market, U.S. Federal Reserve officials said on Wednesday.

    With the economy still on track to grow as much as 2 percent for the year, the central bank's latest policy statement keeps it on track for at least one and perhaps a second rate increase later this year.

    Fed Chair Janet Yellen, however, emphasized that the rate decision was still up in the air and rested squarely on further improvement in the labor market - renewing her focus on a longstanding concern.
    ...
    by Published on 06-12-2015 05:36 PM

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/sto...poll/71116276/

    The Iowa Straw Poll is dead, leaving a heavier burden on winnowing an oversized GOP presidential field on Iowans who will cast the nation's first votes in February in the caucuses.

    The governing board for the Republican Party of Iowa voted unanimously Friday to cancel the straw poll, a milestone on the path to the White House that had passed the strategic tipping point. It was no longer a political risk for presidential campaigns to walk away from the straw poll, and too many of the 2016 contenders had opted to skip it for it to survive.

    "We set the table and they didn't come to dinner," Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The
    ...
    by Published on 05-21-2015 09:45 AM

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...2016-elections

    Human rights groups fear law, which could cover businesses as well as NGOs, is being adopted early to quash opposition to Kremlin

    Russia’s parliament has passed a law banning “undesirable” international organisations, raising fears of a further crackdown on voices critical of the Kremlin.

    According to the legislation, the prosecutor general and foreign ministry can register as undesirable any “foreign or international organisation that presents a threat to the defensive capabilities or security of the state, to the public order, or to the health of the population”.

    Blacklisted groups will be forbidden from operating branches or distributing information in Russia and banks will have to notify the prosecutor general and justice ministry of any financial transfers involving them. Although the language of the threat posed was vague, the bill’s authors suggested that international NGOs often work in the interests of foreign intelligence agencies.
    More at link.
    by Published on 03-29-2015 12:20 PM

    A term we are all familiar with- and most of us consider ourselves to be part of it- but what does it really mean? Who is middle class? How do you determine it? How much you make? How much stuff you have (our current standard of living would have been upper middle if not upper class 50 years ago based on stuff). There is an arbitrary number for "poor" but there is nothing to say where the middle is. Also costs of living vary considerably across the country- a lot of money in Alabama won't get you very far in San Francisco or New York.

    Is the Middle Class worse off than it used to be? Life is a struggle these days. But we sometimes forget that it has always been a struggle. Our parents worked hard too and made sacrifices to get us the things most of us took ...
    by Published on 03-28-2015 02:30 PM

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/0...es-116398.html

    The late-night vote marathon is aimed mainly at making the other party look bad in elections.

    Republicans will have to go on record against giving minimum-wage workers a raise and potentially vote against a plan meant to defend pregnant workers from discrimination. Democrats will take sides on Iran’s nuclear talks, with Republicans daring them to side against Israel.

    And each party is trying to outdo the other on how much it loves Medicare.

    The Senate’s famous budget “vote-a-rama” on Thursday won’t change any laws — far from it, it’s a daylong, only-in-Congress charade, the main purpose of which is to make the other party look bad and
    ...
    by Published on 03-25-2015 01:30 PM

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world...gion-1.2153052

    Kolomoisky actually hired his own militia to help fight against the Russian backed separatists but he also sent some of those same forces to try to take over one of the country's largest energy companies.

    Ukraine power struggle ousts ‘oligarch’ from key region

    Two officials arrested and handcuffed in front of TV cameras during cabinet meeting

    Ukraine’s president has removed a powerful “oligarch” as governor of a major eastern region, in a show of authority that could escalate a dangerous power struggle and undermine Kiev’s fight with Russian-backed separatists.

    Petro Poroshenko accepted Ihor Kolomoisky’s unexpected
    ...
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