Monday, November 2, 2009

Going global...

Today good news is taking over the world. Well, not really if the headlines on NPR radio this morning were any indication, but the stories I have for today are from all over the globe and every social strata. Here's to positivity growing like kudzu (shout out to my redneck roots. :) )

Representing the top of the social stratosphere, Bill and Melinda Gates sat down with ABC News' Charles Gibson and talked about the success of their global health initiative. Run through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Living Proof Project highlights all the good that has been done by the teamwork between the US Government and privately funded health initiatives. The Gates' cite the "huge difference" made by the millions of US dollars spent on vaccines, medicines and health worker training around the world.

In a bit of a role reversal, not-quite-Bill-and-Melinda-Gates-but-up-there-rich Germans have made a call for a tax increase for the wealthy in their country. They want a five percent tax for two years followed by a drop to one percent for those with over $750,000 incomes, according to Deutsche Welle. The proposal's supporters claim this could generate $150 billion. I don't think anyone actually thinks this will pass, but the awareness that the middle- and lower-class population could use a break in this financial crisis is welcoming.

On the other end of the demographic spectrum, we find a nice little "gotcha" story coming out of Mexico. The New York Times tells the story of a little extortion south of the border. When state senator Michelle L. Fischbach went to Cancun with family members for vacation, the last thing she expected was to be pulled over by the police on a trumped up charge and having to come up with a bribe to keep her husband out of jail. One letter to the Cancun mayor from a US state senator yielded the termination of the offices, a reimbursement check from the city government and the mayor's personal attention...

In Lebanon, the government is working on harnessing an excellent natural resource - the sun. Plagued by frequent and long power outages, parts of Lebanon are forced to grind to a halt. But this winter, several schools and hospitals are hoping the lights stay on after the repairs on and building of new solar power stations.

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