27 September 2010Ecuador’s Vice-President cautioned at the United Nations today that the drive to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have left out an important segment of the population – persons with disabilities. Ecuador’s Vice-President cautioned at the United Nations today that the drive to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have left out an important segment of the population – persons with disabilities.“Disability is not an inability, but diversity,” Lenin Moreno Garcés told the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment.“Just as there is geographic, cultural and climatic diversity, there are different capacities,” he said. “There is talent, there is heart, there is dedication, there is perseverance and will.”The South American nation carried out a study of all persons with disabilities, which found instances of the disabled being dumped into holes in the ground and in cages, Mr. Garcés said.Ecuador has made great strides in helping those with disabilities, providing the necessary technical assistance, housing, medical attention, job placement and education, he noted.In addition, the Vice- President said, the country has set up a bond equivalent to a living wage to recognize the work of people with severe physical or intellectual disabilities.Scores of world leaders gathered at UN Headquarters last week to assert their commitment in the remaining five years until the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the MDGs, the eight anti-poverty targets. read more

US retail sales rise as consumers shrug off stock price drop In this Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, photo, shoppers are shown in Miami. On Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for January. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz) by Christopher S. Rugaber And Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2016 6:42 am MDT Last Updated Feb 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales rose modestly in January, evidence that Americans kept shopping despite sharp drops in stock prices.The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 per cent last month, the same as in December. Excluding the effect of falling gas prices, sales rose 0.4 per cent.Sales in December were revised higher from an initial estimate of a 0.1 per cent drop.Steady hiring and early signs that employers are finally handing out higher wages means that Americans have more money to spend. A key question for the economy this year is whether consumer spending can keep growing and offset the impacts of stock market volatility and slowing growth overseas.“The markets may have decided that the U.S. is headed for recession, but obviously no one told U.S. consumers,” Paul Ashworth said in a research note. Low prices caused a sharp fall in gas station sales, but “otherwise, sales were strong across the board,” he added.Americans stepped up their purchases in January of autos, home supplies and groceries, and spent more online. They spent less at restaurants and bars, likely because of harsh snowstorms on the East Coast.The retail sales report provides the first indication each month of Americans’ spending, which drives 70 per cent of the economy. Yet retail sales account for only about one-third of all spending, with services such as haircuts and Internet access making up the other two-thirds.Gas prices averaged $1.70 a gallon nationwide Thursday, according to AAA. That’s down 27 cents in just the past month.Cheap gas is dragging down the overall retail sales figures, which include gas but don’t account for price changes. Excluding the impact of cheap gas, retail sales rose 4.5 per cent in January from 12 months earlier. That was the best year-over-pace since September.A key question for consumers this year will be how much they spend of the money left over from cheap gas, and how much they sock away in savings. Last year, they saved more than many economists expected, restraining growth.On Wednesday, the National Retail Federation forecast above average sales this year, citing better hiring and wage increases, as well as lower gas prices. It forecasts retail sales will increase 3.1 per cent in 2016, higher than its 10-year average of 2.7 per cent.Still, that is a slowdown from its estimate last summer that retail sales would grow 3.5 per cent in 2015. Its figures exclude autos, gas stations and restaurants.The government’s figures show that a category mostly made up of online and catalogue sales rose 1.6 per cent in January, the most in nearly a year. They were up 8.7 per cent from a year earlier.At the same time, department store sales plummeted 0.8 per cent and have fallen 3.8 per cent in the past year.The widening gap between online and traditional retailers will be on display next week with major stores like Wal-Mart, Target and J.C. Penney putting up their numbers from the fourth quarter, which includes the crucial holiday shopping period.This year, as has been the case for years now, shoppers increasingly migrated on line leading up to the holiday.With traffic at malls and department stores sluggish, Amazon.com two weeks ago, reported that its fourth-quarter revenue spiked 22 per cent to almost $36 billion. Its profit doubled.Traditional retailers right now are in retrenchment mode.Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is closing 269 stores, including 154 in the U.S. That’s a fraction of its 5,000 stores, but still a rare event.Macy’s Inc. is cutting 4,800 jobs and profit expectations as well.The ailing Sears Holdings Corp., which owns Kmart, said this week that it would accelerate store closures.“The actions are smart, but they may not be enough,” said Walter Loeb, an independent retail consultant in New York. “It may be necessary to do more. We are overstored.”___D’Innocenzio reported from New York City. read more

The Red Book, as the report is known, is a recognized global reference on uranium jointly prepared by the IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (NEA/OECD).It found an increase in uranium supply, exploration and production. Some seven per cent more uranium resources have been identified since the last report was published in 2012, adding almost 10 years to the existing resource base. Global uranium production continued to increase between 2010 and 2012, albeit at a lower rate than in the previous two-year period. The growth in the resource base is mainly due to a 23 per cent increase in uranium exploration and mine development, which totalled $1.92 billion in 2012.On the demand side, projections vary from region to region. While the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident resulted in a change of policies in many developed countries, nuclear capacity projections, notably in East Asia and non-European Union states on the European continent, continue to grow. The Red Book projects that world nuclear electricity generating capacity by 2035 is expected to increase between 7 per cent on the low and 82 per cent on the high side. This is in line with the IAEA’s most recent projections of between 8 and 88 per cent for the year 2030.More than 20 countries around the globe produce uranium, with Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia as the largest producers, accounting for approximately 63 per cent of world production. The reported growth in production is mainly driven by Kazakhstan, with smaller additions in Australia, Brazil, China, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Ukraine and the United States.The continued robust demand for the resource has led to future plans for mining operations in new countries including Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia. And to minimise the social and environmental impacts, efforts are being made to develop safe and well-regulated operations.The new report provides analyses from 45 countries in order to address questions on global uranium exploration, resources, production and reactor-related requirements. It also offers updated information on uranium production centres and mine development plans, as well as projections of nuclear generating capacity and reactor-related requirements through 2035. read more