Economist 5/7/14

  1. Italy has roughly 66,000 inmates, who live in the second-most crowded conditions in Europe. Serbia, which has one-sixth the number of prisoners, is the most stuffed. Turkey, according to figures from the Council of Europe, has among the most vacant cells (despite about twice as many inmates as Italy). 
  2. Despite Peshawar’s performance, Pakistan continues to underperform in the fight against Polio. On May 5th the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced serious alarm over a major global outbreak of the disease: 74 cases reported so far this year, in eight countries. It called on Pakistan, along with Cameroon and Syria, to require all residents to be vaccinated for the disease before travelling abroad. The Peshawar strain has already cropped up around the Middle East. All the more mortifying for Pakistan is that in March India was declared polio-free. Five years ago India accounted for nearly half of all the world’s infections.
  3. In 1987 the artwork was inked onto paper with a Rotring pen (a highly precise pen with a “stylographic” point—a fine steel tubed nib, not a rollerball). The image would have been sketched first in pencil. It was not until Illustrator 88 was released a year later by Adobe Software that things like “postscript font typography” and “vector graphics” meant we could start to move away from the hand-drawn era. Today our production is almost entirely digital. Adobe Illustrator is still our preferred software. Unlike in days of yore, we can make edits right up until the final minute of production.
  4. A TERRIBLE threat stalks the streets of Washington, DC: unlicensed tour guides.  Yet he could be jailed for 90 days if caught. Washington requires all guides to pay $200 and take an exam. In the 1950s only one American worker in 20 needed a permit from the government; today that figure is around one in three. Some jobs, such as doctors, clearly need strict controls. But some states require licences for florists and interior designers. Such permits tend to cost hundreds of dollars and months of extra training.
  5. FRIENDS and foes of Hillary Clinton agree: the former secretary of state, senator and first lady is the Democrats’ default candidate for president in 2016. If she enters the contest, she will be the front-runner. Out of office, she has spent her time on charity work, lucrative speeches, receiving prizes and writing a new memoir, to be launched in June. Republicans are ready for Hillary, too. Some will remind older voters of scandals like Whitewater (involving real estate in Arkansas). But many voters have either forgotten, don’t care or were born after it happened.For all her virtues, Mrs Clinton does not make crowds swoon. Inspiring people to go out and vote will be her biggest challenge.For all her virtues, Mrs Clinton does not make crowds swoon. Inspiring people to go out and vote will be her biggest challenge.
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