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Over Easy

Over Easy

The community that began with Southern Dragon’s Lakeside Diner continues. Today we collect news from outside the usual, and renew the discussion.

Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde warned that economic weakness may continue into the future if wealthier nations do not take positive steps that promote growth. This follows the U.S. Federal Reserve’s retreat from stimulative policies.

 The IMF’s managing director said that global economic signs were positive overall, but that ‘without sufficient policy ambition, the world could fall into a medium-term low-growth trap.’

She called for governments to reform labour markets to encourage job creation, and for more public investment such as transport and communications networks in rich and emerging countries. … Low inflation also means that governments and businesses find it more difficult to repay their debts.

Aftershocks continued along Chile’s coast today following the earthquake Tuesday in the Iquique area. Strong building codes have been credited with saving multitudinous threatened lives in coastal Chile following the 8.2 magnitude earthquake there earlier this week. Tsunami warnings have been lowered, a measure that happened so prematurely in 2010’s large earthquakes that resulting deaths were blamed on the flooding that followed. Continuing tremors in California have not been directly related to the Chilean outbreak.

Given that three of the 10 largest earthquakes ever recorded have been in Chile, the populace is long accustomed to earthquake survival protocols. Building standards in Chile require multiple-storey buildings to be capable of withstanding a 9.0 earthquake, though in rural areas many older buildings – often made of adobe – are prone to sudden and often deadly collapse.

Tuesday’s quake was so strong that the shaking experienced in Bolivia’s capital about 290 miles away was the equivalent of a magnitude-4.5 tremor, authorities there said.

But it was not the ‘big one’ seismologists expect to hit the region at some point.

Carbon dioxide levels that contributed to the largest mass extinction yet discovered has been attributed to methane-spewing microbes following seismic activity that occurred in large portions of the planet aeons ago.

About 252 million years ago, more than 96 percent of ocean life and 70 percent of land-based life forms died in an event known as the end-Permian extinction. The mass die-off happened in a geologic flash of just 60,000 years. Scientists have proposed everything from massive meteor impacts to coal explosions to rifting supercontinents to explain this cataclysmic extinction. [Wipe Out: History’s Most Mysterious Extinctions]

Rocks from that time period in locations such as Meishan, China, show that atmospheric carbon-dioxidelevels skyrocketed right around the time of the extinction. Sediments also show that during this time, the largest set of volcanic eruptions in recorded geologic history — called the Siberian Traps — spewed enough lava to cover the entire landmass of the United States, said study co-author Gregory Fournier, a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Therefore, many researchers have theorized that the Siberian Traps could have belched out the extra carbon dioxide, choking life on the planet.


The amount of methane-producing bacteria subsided after about 100,000 years, but the damage had been done: It would take another 30 million years for the diversity of life to rebound, Fournier said.

The new government in Ukraine has found a massive problem in dealing with members of the former corrupt regime still occupying public administrative positions.

The government has made a decision to dismiss 10 percent of civil servants, or 24,000 people. However, some ministers confess in private that it would probably be fair to keep 10 percent of the existing staff, but they cannot do this because they are constrained by legislation and potential lawsuits that would drain time and energy.

The problems run the gamut. Igor Bilous, deputy finance minister who oversees the work of the tax system, says he inherited 60,000 tax personnel whose ‘thinking grew in the wrong environment.’

With salaries hovering around Hr 1,500, corruption within the department previously was presumed. As a result, regular tax inspectors who came to audit businesses, offered to ‘solve their problems’ at a small cost. But the bigger fish dealt with bigger money and more complex schemes, such as VAT return schemes. Bilous said he and the new staff he brought in three weeks ago have already identified 16 inspectors who specialized in facilitating the return of fake VAT claims.

How refreshing it would be if such a review of holdover public ‘servants’ could be effected inside the Beltway here.


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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.