Gems from The Economist

1 October, 2007

Yesterday I had the pleasure of a nice train journey and to while away some of the time I got a copy of The Economist. To be honest I had forgotten how good it was. I think the reason that it does so well is that it gives you the kind of information that you can’t even get in the broadsheets. Indeed there is nothing quite like it to quench a thirsty facthunter. I’ve put some below and I think the only one that I would expect to see in a newspaper is the last one about student learning hours. Enjoy.

America has a trade deficit of $818.7bn while Germany has a surplus of 228.1 which is almost as big as China’s 244.9

Teachers salaries across the OECD average out at 125% of GDP per person. Britain is a touch above the average and quite some way ahead of the United States, Sweden, Iceland and Norway. The place to be for teachers though is Turkey where their salary is 254% of the GDP per person

The price of gold on 25th September was $728.65 per oz which is 23.1% up on a year ago

Growth in Britain (3.1%) is ahead of the US (1.9%), Japan (1.6%), Germany (2.5%), France (1.3%), Italy (1.8%) and Canada (2.5%) but it is the emergent economies that are doing best on the world stage. China (11.9%), India (9.3%), Singapore (8.6%), Argentina (8.7%) and Venezuela (8.9%)

Antoni Macierewicz was a political appointee head of Poland’s Military counter intelligence service and is attempting to re enter the Polish parliament at the forth coming Polish general election. As an opposition leader says “Macierewicz can spend the morning in the office reading transcripts of our conversations, and the afternoon at PIS (that’s the ruling Law and Justice party) campaign headquarters telling them what we are up to.”

Burma was admitted to ASEAN in 1997. Apparently membership would enable “constructive engagement” with the regime and had nothing to do with the potential of Burma’s natural resources including oil.

The US House of Representatives passed a $35bn child health insurance plan but George W. Bush vetoed it.

480,000 Iraqi’s have registered as internal refugees since the start of 2007. Overall this brings the total to 2,200,000 and another 2,200,000 are reckoned to have fled abroad.

Wheat prices rose to a record level after Ukraine announced that it was cutting exports in an effort to cap domestic prices.

The European Central Bank’s weekly loan auction pushed the average successful bid to 4.29%

English students are the least studious in Europe managing a mere 25 hours study per week on average. The Portuguese are the most hardworking at over 40 hours per week

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