New data from Europe show growth has likely slowed in the second half of the year, and that unemployment will likely stay high. The same numbers from the European Commission also indicate that recovery will continue in the euro zone, and that growth next year may come in at 1.1 percent.
"The commission's forecasts do confirm the general picture we've been reporting for some time now that the euro zone's economic situation does seem to be stabilizing, and we can expect some sort of resumption of growth for next year," says the BBC's Andrew Walker. "But it has to be said, it is still pretty feeble looking growth, and actually slightly weaker than the previous forecast that we had from the commission.”
The 2009 mutiny by border guards seeking better pay and working conditions left 74 people dead in the capital, Dhaka. The judge in the case called the incidents committed "heinous."
The advocacy group pushing for high-speed rail in the United States begins its annual meeting today in Los Angeles. California is something of a poster child for the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, thanks to a $68 billion plan for a bullet train to connect L.A. and San Francisco.
But many hurdles remain for advocates pushing for greater high-speed rail nationwide. To get there, the U.S. would need to prioritize rail over highway spending, said Stan Feinsod, of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State.
“You can’t buy more lanes,” he said. “Passenger rail is a hell of a lot less expensive than building out your highway network, and trying to add lanes and lanes and lanes. It just doesn’t work.”
Rail will also have to overcome the threat posed by driverless cars and more efficient air travel, said Cato Institute senior fellow Randal O’Toole.
“Rail makes a lot of sense for freight,” he said. “It really doesn’t make much sense for passengers anymore.”
Jim Rice became CEO of Shuijingfang baijiu company nearly a year ago.
It was terrible timing.
"About the time I arrived, the industry started to go on a slide," Rice says, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping's new austerity measures, "My sales are down 50 percent. We’ve just given a warning to the stock market that our profit will be down between 80 percent and 100 percent."
Shuijingfang, partly owned by multinational Diageo, hired Rice because he’s got a good track record of adapting foreign companies like Tyson Foods to China. “My job role today is to take a very traditional Chinese company in a very traditional Chinese industry and adapt Western practices to it. I’ve got to globalize the company," says Rice.
Rice has to cut staff, prices, and expenses, as well as overhaul his sales network, but his biggest challenge might be a plan to market baijiu to a new type of customer -- including foreigners. Part of his plan is to market the brand's long history.
A worker creates a new baijiu pit with mud, yeast, and five different grains: rice, sticky rice, wheat, corn, and sorghum at the Shuijingfang distillery in Chengdu, Sichuan province.Rob Schmitz/Marketplace
Inside Shuijingfang’s distillery in the city of Chengdu, Rice shows off a 600 year-old baijiu pit. Next to that, mounds of mud covering a fermenting mixture of grains like rice, corn, and wheat, giving off baijiu’s distinctive odor. "It’s uh sweet," pauses Rice, choosing his descriptors carefully,"and a little bit rancid, I suppose."
This smell -- Westerners compare it to anything from nail polish to dumpster juice -- is baijiu’s Achilles' heel in markets outside of China. The Chinese drink it at room temperature, but if baijiu’s served on ice, the smell is diminished. It’s nearly erased if you mix it with other liquids. At a tasting event in California, Rice created four baijiu cocktails, including a baijiu martini and a baijiu mojito.
He says they were a hit.
Workers at Shuijingfang's Chengdu distillery mix fermented grains with rice husks before they steam it, the final step in making baijiu.Rob Schmitz/Marketplace
Back at the distillery, fresh hot baijiu pours out of steamers. "That is seventy percent alcohol, 140 proof," Rice says, pointing to one vat. Standing next to Rice is a short, smiling man: the master distiller. He offers me a shot of his finest product with both hands. It is a situation where refusing is out of the question. As they say in China, ganbei. For a foreigner who has been the victim of many baijiu contests at Chinese banquets, the taste conjures up dark memories long forgotten.
The master distiller interrupts my stupor by grabbing the shot glass from my hand, refilling it from another vat. "Oh, I’m good with one, I don’t know if I can…" I murmur, trying to be polite.
"But our master distiller thinks you should try them all," says Jim, his employee nodding his head cheerfully behind him.
For this potential American customer, a baijiu mojito sounds pretty good right about now.
Want to know more about the baiju business? Click here to learn about baiju sales, the number of drinkers in China, and more.
The big news is expected to be from the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia. Other races to watch include mayoral contests in New York, Boston, Detroit and Minneapolis. Also, many states and localities have ballot initiatives — including whether the Astrodome should be torn down.
- The Russian Federation
- United States
There's plenty of action to be found on statewide ballots this election season. Colorado voters must decide whether to raise income taxes to provide more funding for public schools, and how much to tax marijuana sales. In Washington state, a fight over labeling genetically modified foods is drenched in cash.
The latest version, "Call of Duty: Ghosts," is out today and there’s even more competition than usual. Sales of last year’s installment topped a $1 billion in 16 days, but in September competitor "Grand Theft Auto: V" hit $1 billion in sales in just 3 days.
No wonder a Hollywood Director shot Activision’s ad for the new "Call of Duty," featuring actress Megan Fox.
"That’s a sign of them not leaving anything to chance," explains Kris Graft, editor of Gamasutra. "They don’t want to spare any expense and risk the chance of potentially dropping off of people’s radars especially as we head into the holiday shopping season."
Game publishers also have shareholders to please, says Dan Hsu, editor of GamesBeat. "Whatever the game franchise is, you see them come up a lot year after year because there’s so much pressure on these public companies to produce revenue."