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Global Real Estate Tra​nspare​ncy Index 2014

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Global Real Estate Tra​nspare​ncy Index 2014
Source: Jones Lang LaSalle

JLL’s eighth Global Real Estate Transparency Index , covering 102 markets worldwide, shows continued progress in the transparency of commercial real estate around the world. Over 80% of markets have registered improvement since 2012. The top improvers in each survey generally correlate with a surge in foreign direct investment and corporate occupier activity, as investors help to accelerate transparency reforms and governments realise that poor transparency will affect continued inward investment, long-term growth prospects and the quality of life of citizens.​​​​​​​

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Hysteria around the World

July 16, 2014 Comments off

Hysteria around the World (PDF)
Source: Frontiers of neurology and neuroscience

In the 20th century the term hysteria declined and the interest in the hysteria-related diseases decreased in comparison to the florid period of studies that was inspired by Charcot’s legacy in the second half of the 19th century. Scientific interest has once again increased in the 21st century, and dissociative and somatoform disorders (previously indicated as hysteria or hysterical neurosis) have come to be regarded as conditions that are known to be much more prevalent than formerly estimated. Available current epidemiological data from several countries on different continents (adopting DSM criteria for diagnosis) suggest not only that the prevalence is probably similar, but also that there is a consistency in their clinical manifestation around the world and across different cultures, social classes, and institutional settings. In line with this uniformity, and also with Charcot’s concept of hysteria as a functional disorder, neuroimaging studies suggest that for some of these disorders, there might be some changes of neural connectivity in specific pathways at the origin of the behavioral aspects. Only large-scale multidisciplinary transcultural studies can improve the research and the development of therapeutic interventions for these disorders.

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image

July 16, 2014 Comments off

Global Opposition to U.S. Surveillance and Drones, but Limited Harm to America’s Image
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

Revelations about the scope of American electronic surveillance efforts have generated headlines around the world over the past year. And a new Pew Research Center survey finds widespread global opposition to U.S. eavesdropping and a decline in the view that the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people. But in most countries there is little evidence this opposition has severely harmed America’s overall image.

CRS — The United Kingdom and U.S.-UK Relations (updated)

July 16, 2014 Comments off

The United Kingdom and U.S.-UK Relations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via University of North Texas Digital Library)

Many U.S. officials and Members of Congress view the United Kingdom (UK) as the United States’ closest and most reliable ally. This perception stems from a combination of factors, including a sense of shared history, values, and culture, as well as extensive and long-established cooperation on a wide range of foreign policy and security issues. In the minds of many Americans, the UK’s strong role in Iraq and Afghanistan during the past decade reinforced an impression of closeness and solidarity.

UK Consumers Open to Pure Digital Banks, According to Accenture Survey

July 16, 2014 Comments off

UK Consumers Open to Pure Digital Banks, According to Accenture Survey (PDF)
Source: Accenture

One-quarter (25 percent) of UK consumers would consider using a pure digital bank – a bank with no branches or call centres that is only accessible via laptops and mobile devices, according to the latest survey of UK current account customers conducted by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

Customers aged 25 to 34 are most keen on the idea of a pure digital, branchless bank; 33 percent would consider using one, while the youngest group of bank customers – those aged 18 to 24 – are the least receptive, with only 22 percent saying they would consider it.

Based on interviews with more than 3,600 UK current account holders, the survey points to continuing growth in the use of digital banking channels. It shows that 80 percent of customers went online at least once a month to interact with their banks, while monthly mobile banking usage has risen to 27 percent of customers compared with 21 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2011.

However, the survey also points to a rise in customers using branches. According to the survey, the number of customers going into a branch at least once a month has risen from 45 percent in 2012 to 52 percent this year, with the most pronounced increase among customers aged 18 to 24. Fifty-four percent of the youngest group, say they visit their bank branch each month compared to 39 percent of the same group in 2012.

Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2012-13

July 15, 2014 Comments off

Research and Experimental Development, Government and Private Non-Profit Organisations, Australia, 2012-13
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Expenditure and human resources devoted to research and experimental development (R&D) carried out by government and private non-profit organisations in Australia, classified by socioeconomic objective, field of research, type of expenditure, type of activity, source of funds, type of employee and location of expenditure. Most data are expressed in current prices but key aggregates are also expressed in volume terms.

UK Wages Over the Past Four Decades, 2014

July 15, 2014 Comments off

UK Wages Over the Past Four Decades, 2014
Source: Office for National Statistics

This report looks at changes in earnings in the UK over the past forty years. It makes use of distributional and cohort analysis to assess the impact of the recession on real earnings as well as looking at the impact of the introduction of the national minimum wage.

The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA): Third Edition

July 14, 2014 Comments off

The Quality of Official Development Assistance (QuODA): Third Edition
Source: Brookings Institution

This is the third edition of our effort to measure the quality of official development assistance (QuODA). Since the first edition, much has changed in the world of aid. Most significantly, the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness was replaced in 2012 with a new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. This multi-stakeholder group is charged with building a better understanding of how all development partners—official, business and in civil society—can work together to improve impact. The Global Partnership has a stronger representation of emerging economies, civil society and of the business sector, and is starting to debate how to leverage and coordinate the growing diversity of financial flows, knowledge and practical experiences to strengthen development impact.

The Global Partnership has already discussed and determined a new set of indicators of aid effectiveness that it will monitor, and has conducted a base-line survey in 2012 from which we draw. But in this paper, we continue to use our previous methodology focused on indicators that were agreed upon as part of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action in order to monitor the progress donors have made towards their initial commitments.

This third edition of QuODA focuses on changes over time in donor performance. In the first edition of QuODA, we used 2008 data for aid flows and Paris Monitoring Survey indicators for donor compliance with commitments. In this edition, we use 2012 data for aid, 2013 data from the new Global Partnership Monitoring Framework, and 2011 data for Paris indicators that are no longer measured in the new monitoring framework. The mix of years is not ideal, but for all indicators it provides us an opportunity to see whether there has been progress or not over a span of at least 3 to 4 years.

Another major change in the aid environment is the larger number of development partners that now report on their aid activities to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Fourteen countries provide substantial information, and although the largest emerging economies like China and India are not included, there is the beginning of a more comprehensive data base on aid that permits examination of whether these donors behave differently from DAC donors in important ways. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation now also reports on its activities, so it can be analyzed in the same framework. Of course, the non-DAC donors and the Gates Foundation are not systematically included in the Paris Monitoring Survey or the Global Partnership Monitoring Framework, so the range of indicators across which they can be compared to DAC donors is more limited than the full QuODA framework. Nevertheless, we believe it is useful to start to ask questions about the revealed characteristics of non-DAC development partners, official and philanthropic. It is our hope that data on additional donors will become more comprehensive over time.

Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2014

July 14, 2014 Comments off

Arts and Culture in Australia: A Statistical Overview, 2014
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Provides a statistical overview of culture in Australia. Contains information on a range of topics including employment in culture, time spent on cultural activities, attendances at cultural venues and events, expenditure on culture, and imports and exports of cultural goods and services. Also provides profiles of the cultural sectors, grouped according to the Australian Culture and Leisure Industry Classification.

World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas

July 14, 2014 Comments off

World’s population increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas
Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050. Projections show that urbanization combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations report launched today.

The 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects by UN DESA’s Population Division notes that the largest urban growth will take place in India, China and Nigeria. These three countries will account for 37 per cent of the projected growth of the world’s urban population between 2014 and 2050. By 2050, India is projected to add 404 million urban dwellers, China 292 million and Nigeria 212 million.

With nearly 38 million people, Tokyo tops UN’s ranking of most populous cities followed by Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City, São Paulo and Mumbai

The urban population of the world has grown rapidly from 746 million in 1950 to 3.9 billion in 2014. Asia, despite its lower level of urbanization, is home to 53 per cent of the world’s urban population, followed by Europe with 14 per cent and Latin America and the Caribbean with 13 per cent.

The world’s urban population is expected to surpass six billion by 2045. Much of the expected urban growth will take place in countries of the developing regions, particularly Africa. As a result, these countries will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including for housing, infrastructure, transportation, energy and employment, as well as for basic services such as education and health care.

Turkey: Macroeconomic stability and structural reform key to strong and inclusive growth, OECD says

July 12, 2014 Comments off

Turkey: Macroeconomic stability and structural reform key to strong and inclusive growth, OECD says
Source: OECD

Turkey’s economy will grow stronger in the coming years, but remains overly dependent on domestic consumption funded by foreign finance, according to the latest OECD Economic Survey of Turkey. Turkey should rebalance growth through monetary and financial policies that keep inflation, exchange rates and credit levels on sustainable paths, the OECD said.

The Survey notes that Turkey’s short-term economic outlook has improved: buoyed by the projected global recovery, growth is set to pick up over the coming two years. Turkey’s longer-term prospects, however, hinge on the authorities’ ability to achieve disinflation and preserve the credibility of public finances, while implementing structural reforms that boost productivity and competitiveness across the economy.

A better overall regulatory framework is essential if the business sector is to remain a driver of strong and inclusive growth. Structural change in the business sector would strengthen competitiveness, exports, employment, income and savings, help rebalance domestic and external demand, and move the economy toward an externally sustainable path.

Turkey should strive to make its product and labour market regulations more growth-friendly while continuing to reduce regulatory obligations related to company size.

UK — What Does the 2011 Census Tell Us About Inter-ethnic Relationships?

July 11, 2014 Comments off

What Does the 2011 Census Tell Us About Inter-ethnic Relationships?
Source: Office for National Statistics

Key Points

  • Nearly 1 in 10 people (9% or 2.3 million) who were living as part of a couple were in an inter-ethnic relationship in England and Wales in 2011. This has increased from 7% in 2001.
  • People from the Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups were most likely to be in an inter-ethnic relationship (85%).
  • Outside the Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups, White Irish (71%), Other Black (62%) and Gypsy or Irish Travellers (50%) were the most likely to be in an inter-ethnic relationship.
  • White British (4%) were least likely to be in inter-ethnic relationships, followed by Bangladeshi (7%), Pakistani (9%) and Indian (12%) ethnic groups.
  • The biggest difference between the sexes was found with the Chinese group, where women were almost twice as likely (39%) to be in an inter-ethnic relationship as men (20%).
  • Of all people in inter-ethnic relationships, 4 in 10 (40%) included someone who was White British – the most common being between Other White and White British (16%).
  • People who were married (or in a civil partnership) were less likely to be in an inter-ethnic relationship than people who were co-habiting (8% compared with 12%).
  • Some 7% of dependent children lived in a household with an inter-ethnic relationship.
  • Pakistani (3%), Indian (3%) and Bangladeshi (2%) dependent children were least likely to live in a household with an inter-ethnic relationship.

National Funding of Road Infrastructure

July 10, 2014 Comments off

National Funding of Road Infrastructure
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report examines the funding of roads and highways in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England and Wales, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden. It provides a description of the infrastructure in the jurisdiction, information on the ownership and responsibility of the roads, and taxes or other ways of collecting money to fund the nation’s infrastructure. If applicable, a discussion of reforms or new initiatives is examined.

Tipping the Scale: An Analysis of Global Swing States in the Internet Governance Debate

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Tipping the Scale: An Analysis of Global Swing States in the Internet Governance Debate
Source: Centre for International Governance Innovation

In December 2012, numerous news outlets reported on the debate over Internet governance that took place at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) in Dubai. It was the first time in nearly a decade that the topic attracted major international media attention. A key aspect of the post-WCIT discussion has centred on the role of “swing states” in this global debate. So far, most of this work has been based on predefined groups of countries or focused on countries based on anecdotal evidence of a vibrant tech community or existing relationships. The study discussed in this paper applied a more systematic approach. The research revealed some interesting patterns among certain groups of states. A core group of potential swing states — a total of 30 countries — are identified based on their voting behaviour at the WCIT, their various memberships and a range of relevant indicators. This list offers a road map for future in-depth studies. Ideally, it will also serve as a resource for practitioners and academics alike for comparison with current efforts and for future strategic planning that focuses on engaging other actors internationally.

Deposit Insurance Database

July 10, 2014 Comments off

Deposit Insurance Database
Source: International Monetary Fund

This paper provides a comprehensive, global database of deposit insurance arrangements as of 2013. We extend our earlier dataset by including recent adopters of deposit insurance and information on the use of government guarantees on banks’ assets and liabilities, including during the recent global financial crisis. We also create a Safety Net Index capturing the generosity of the deposit insurance scheme and government guarantees on banks’ balance sheets. The data show that deposit insurance has become more widespread and more extensive in coverage since the global financial crisis, which also triggered a temporary increase in the government protection of non-deposit liabilities and bank assets. In most cases, these guarantees have since been formally removed but coverage of deposit insurance remains above pre-crisis levels, raising concerns about implicit coverage and moral hazard going forward.

First OECD PISA financial literacy test finds many young people confused by money matters

July 10, 2014 Comments off

First OECD PISA financial literacy test finds many young people confused by money matters
Source: OECD

Around one in seven students in the 13 OECD countries and economies that took part in the first OECD PISA international assessment of financial literacy are unable to make even simple decisions about everyday spending, and only one in ten can solve complex financial tasks.

Some 29 000 15 year-olds in 18 countries and economies* took part in the test, which assessed the knowledge and skills of teenagers in dealing with financial issues, such as understanding a bank statement, the long-term cost of a loan or knowing how insurance works.

hanghai-China had the highest average score in financial literacy, followed by the Flemish Community of Belgium, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Poland.

The gender gap in financial literacy was much smaller than in OECD PISA tests in maths or reading, with there being no significant difference between the performance of boys and girls, except in Italy.

But the inequality gap mirrors that in key school subjects: more socio-economically advantaged students scored much higher than less-advantaged students on average across participating OECD countries and economies. Non-immigrant students also performed slightly better than immigrant students from a similar socio-economic status. The gap between the two groups is larger than the OECD average in the Flemish Community of Belgium, Estonia, France, Slovenia and Spain.

The survey also revealed that skills in mathematics and reading are very closely related to financial literacy. However, high proficiency in one of these subjects does not always signal strong performance in financial literacy.

EU spending on renewable energy needs improvements to enhance its contribution to policy goals, say EU Auditors

July 10, 2014 Comments off

EU spending on renewable energy needs improvements to enhance its contribution to policy goals, say EU Auditors
Source: European Court of Auditors

EU spending on renewable energy needs improvements to enhance its contribution to policy goals, say EU Auditors.

A report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) reveals that improvements are needed if EU funding is to make the maximum possible contribution to achieving the 2020 renewable energy target. The EU auditors examined whether funds in that period had been allocated to well prioritised, cost-effective and mature renewable energy generation projects with rational objectives and to what extent these funds had achieved good results in contributing to the EU 2020 target for energy from renewable sources.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Lose Revenue And Is a Proven Policy Failure

July 9, 2014 Comments off

Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Lose Revenue And Is a Proven Policy Failure
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Some policymakers are promoting another “repatriation tax holiday” to encourage multinational corporations to bring overseas profits back to the United States by offering them a temporary, very low tax rate on those profits. In particular, some have described a repatriation holiday as a “win-win” that would boost corporate investment and create jobs in the United States and also generate a tax windfall to help finance needed infrastructure spending. In reality, a repatriation tax holiday would accomplish neither goal and instead would worsen the nation’s fiscal and economic problems over time.

Intellectual Disability, Australia, 2012

July 9, 2014 Comments off

Intellectual Disability, Australia, 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Intellectual disability is a term used to describe a reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (Endnote 1). The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) defines intellectual disability as “difficulty learning or understanding things.”

Armed and Dangerous? UAVs and U.S. Security

July 9, 2014 Comments off

Armed and Dangerous? UAVs and U.S. Security
Source: RAND Corporation

Armed drones are making the headlines, especially in their role in targeted killings. In this report, RAND researchers stepped back and asked whether these weapons are transformative. The answer is no, though they offer significant capabilities to their users, especially in counterterrorism operations as has been the case for the United States. Will they proliferate? Yes, but upon a closer look at the types of systems, only a few rich countries will be in a position to develop the higher technology and longer range systems. U.S. adversaries and others will likely find weapons such as aircraft and air defenses more cost and militarily effective. Their proliferation will not create the kinds of global dangers that call for new arms control efforts, but the risks to regional stability cannot be dismissed entirely, as is the case of any conventional weapon. How the United States will use these weapons today and into the future will be important in shaping a broader set of international norms that discourage their misuse by others.

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