WTO; Li Ka-Shing; Citicorp’s Predatory Lending; Blair on Iraq; and West Nile Disease

Well, the Bush Jr. Administration could not escape international trade after all. Earlier this spring, he levied a 30% tax on 15 million tons of imported steel. After a WTO court case with the Europeans, Bush decided to rescind that tax on half of that amount. Good. The tax is artificially propping up the prices of steel used for products made in the U.S. Ultimately, this tax increases the price tag of anything we consumers buy that is made from steel (cars, ovens, shovels, etc.) Point for Globalization!

In other news, Li Ka-Shing (Hong Kong corporate titan) made a European acquisition, expanding his worldwide empire across 41 countries. I am impressed. I’d like to find out more about this guy.

Predatory lending has come onto the news radar. According to The Economist, low-income families, single mothers and the elderly are likely targets. There are laws that would penalize predatory lending in CA, NC, GA and OH. Tougher penalties are lacking due to the difficulty in identifying such loans. Bills are under consideration in both houses of Congress.

Wow, Tony Blair is campaigning for popular opinion on the possible Allied war against Iraq. I thought he spoke against it? Well, it’s not uncommon for a politician to change faces. At any rate, the citizens of Britain (over 70%) are against a declaration of war without an OK from the U.N. What’s wrong with the current policy of containment? Blair only asserts that continuing it is not possible. Why? We cannot overthrow a government just on a perceived threat. Even if Iraq has nuclear weapons, to attack them without provocation is precedence for abuse and Allied imperialism.

A woman who died in Georgia gave up her organs for transplant. Unbeknownst to doctors, she was infected with the West Nile disease, and one recipient has already died. Two others also have the virus and are suffering from encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. The fourth’s condition is still unsure. I’ve always hated mosquitoes. Now there is a reason to fear them as well. Goodness.

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