Economist 5/23/14

  1. Miami makes it extremely hard for Food Trucks to operate, as do Baltimore and Chicago. Rochester, Pittsburgh and San Diego are nearly as stern. In New York City, a cap on the number of food-truck licences available has created a black market, pushing up prices into the thousands of dollars. food trucks are typically required to cook their food in inspected commercial kitchens.Not only is street vending an important step for aspiring entrepreneurs, but food trucks have enlivened the gastronomic scene. 
  2. Pakistan’s biggest, brashest television station – Geo News both conservative and liberal commentators have a pulpit; sensationalist news is leavened with variety shows and political satire.Once the darling of the army and the religious right, Geo got its broadcasting licence in 2002, during the rule of a former general, Pervez Musharraf. But recently, under a Dubai-based mogul, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, it has turned for the worse. It has even teamed up with the Times of India, campaigning vigorously for peace and trade with its giant neighbour. The generals regard India with eternal suspicion. Geo has also dared to criticise the army for human-rights abuses in its counterinsurgency campaign in Balochistan.Yet the army establishment is struggling to take down the channel, which is backed by a government embroiled in its own spats with the armed forces.Geo’s fate is in the hands of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. On May 20th five members of the 12-man board announced the suspension of Geo’s licence. Farcically, the authority swiftly declared the decision null, since there was no quorum when the government-appointed members refused to show up.
  3.  Last year over a fifth of South Korean farmers and fishermen who tied the knot did so with a foreigner.They are expected to exceed 1.5m by 2020, in a population of 50m. That is remarkable for a country that has long prided itself on its ethnic uniformity. But a preference for sons has led to a serious imbalance of the sexes. In 2010 half of all middle-aged men in South Korea were single, a fivefold increase since 1995. The birth rate has fallen to 1.3 children per woman of childbearing age, down from six in 1960. It is one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Without immigration, the country’s labour force will shrink drastically.The government is the biggest enthusiast for a multi-ethnic country. Its budget for multicultural families has shot up 24-fold since 2007, to 107 billion won ($105m). Some 200 support centres offer interpreting services, language classes, child care and counselling. School textbooks now include a section on mixed-race families. And in 2012 mixed-race Koreans could join the army for the first time. The government is now tightening up the marriage rules. Last month two new requirements came into force: a foreign bride must speak Korean, and a Korean groom must support her financially. Koreans are now limited to a single marriage-visa request every five years.
  4.  The rich world’s economy still looks disappointingly weak. America’s GDP grew at an annualised rate of only 0.1% in the first quarter. Euro-area growth, at 0.8%, was only half the expected pace.In Britain and Germany, for example, growth has accelerated, and Japan has put on a brief spurt.What should be done to forestall that outcome? The standard answer is that central banks need to loosen monetary conditions further and keep them loose for longer. In some places that is plainly true. The euro area’s weakness has a lot to do with the conservatism of the European Central Bank, which has long resisted the adoption of unconventional measures to loosen monetary policy, even as the region has slipped ever closer to deflation.But if loose monetary conditions are a prerequisite for a more vigorous recovery, it is increasingly clear that on their own they are not enough. Indeed, over-reliance on central banks may be a big reason behind the present sluggishness.What is really needed, though, is a more balanced growth strategy that relies less exclusively on central banks.One is to boost public investment in infrastructure. From American airports to German broadband coverage, much of the rich world’s infrastructure is inadequate. Borrowing at rock-bottom interest rates to improve it will support today’s growth, boost tomorrow’s and leave the recovery less dependent on private debt. 
  5. BEFORE the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 many Americans led shorter, sicker lives because of pollution. Between 1980 and 2012 total emissions of six common air pollutants in America dropped by 67%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This happened even as the country’s population grew by 38% and Americans consumed 27% more. energy. Yet despite these gains, around 142m Americans still live in counties with dangerously polluted air, says the EPA. The problem is especially serious for those who are poor and not white.NO2 comes primarily from vehicles and power plants, and is most concentrated in cities. The study found that the difference in exposures between whites and nonwhites is 38%, and this gap is largely constant at every income level.NO2 comes primarily from vehicles and power plants, and is most concentrated in cities. The study found that the difference in exposures between whites and nonwhites is 38%, and this gap is largely constant at every income level. A cap-and-trade programme for nitrogen oxides in eastern and midwestern states between 2003 and 2007 cost as much as $3.4 billion

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