In the past 17 days, people visiting Munich's Oktoberfest drank a record 7.5 million liters of beer — around 1.98 million U.S. gallons. That figure is made more striking if one notes that the festival, which ended Monday, hosted some 6.9 million visitors this year — or 200,000 people short of a record turnout.
Despite that number, there was less violence this year, with the police being called about 100 times fewer than they were in 2010. And Reuters says that only 58 conflicts involved people knocking one another over the head with steins — a drop of 4 from last year.
As President Obama sells his jobs initiative across the country, people in Mississippi point to a program they say is already creating jobs. Mississippi has attracted attention because economists like the way the state got employers to share the cost of hiring workers.
Under the Subsidized Transitional Employment Program and Services, or STEPS for short, the state pays part of the cost of workers' salaries in the hopes that the subsidy will lead to full-time jobs.
Some analysts say this could be a national model, but it comes with a price tag.
President Obama has waded into the controversy over bank card fees, suggesting that Bank of America is mistreating its customers with a plan to start charging a $5 monthly fee for the use of its debit card.
In an interview Monday with ABC, the president seemed to suggest the fee could become a target for the federal government's new financial watchdog agency.
"This is exactly why we need this Consumer [Financial] Protection Bureau that we set up, that is ready to go," he said.
For years, it was common to see images of Chinese people riding bikes in massive packs, coursing along the streets of Beijing or other sprawling metropolises. Then, as the nation's economy took off, bicycles came to be seen as part of the country's past — and cars as a sign of its future.
One recent day in Tripoli, hundreds of people strolled through a charity fundraiser organized by the women in Libya's capital city.
Ladies sold baked goods and handicrafts in rows of stalls. For the kids, there was a moon bounce and face painting. There was even a rock band that could use some practice.
It was a lot like charity bazaars in towns across the U.S., with a couple of notable exceptions: most of the women wore headscarves and among the more popular items for sale were hand-knitted versions of the Libyan flag.
Greek Prime Minster George Papandreou, who was born and raised in the U.S., belongs to Greece's most important political dynasty — he's the son and grandson of prime ministers.
And yet just two years after he led the Socialist party to victory, his popularity has plummeted, his debt-stricken country is at the heart of the eurozone crisis and he faces the daunting task of dismantling the generous welfare state his father created.
Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 8:03 am
You think your job is tough? Some scientists examined sewage from Pittsburgh, Barcelona and Addis Ababa in a hunt for unknown viruses.
They found scads. How many? At least 43,381.
To put that number into perspective, consider that up to now scientists have charted only about 3,000 viruses. And among the known viruses found in the sewage samples, only 17 were bugs that cause human disease — things like the common cold virus, diarrhea-causing Norwalk virus and human papilloma virus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer and genital warts.
Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 4:01 pm
Today was widely expected to bring the announcement of the iPhone 5 — maybe with a bigger screen, a different home button, or a differently shaped case — at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.
That's not to say Apple didn't say anything of note at its rather lengthy presentation. Not at all. But the big game-changing piece of new hardware didn't come to pass. Aficionados waited, wondering and chattering on liveblogs and on Twitter to see if it would come at the end in Apple's traditional "one more thing" fashion.
With the Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes around 20 percent below their recent peaks, the very definition of a "bear market," there's understandably a fair amount of concern among investors and everyone else who watches the economic indicators.