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Viz of the day

Which US States are Small Business Friendly? Small businesses in the United States are engines of the American economy, employing nearly 20 percent of Americans. So, what makes one state more small-business friendly than another? The results are in from the Thumbtack Small Business Survey—the largest continuous study of small business perceptions of government policy in the US—and may even surprise you if you associate big cities and large population centers with small business opportunity.    #1 South Dakota. Spanning geography and climate, the most friendly states were South Dakota, Tennessee, Alaska, Michigan, and Utah, all earning an overall A+. South Dakota shot to the top of the rankings in 2018 with a top score in all categories except ease of hiring (graded a D) and...
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While in some ways technology has changed so much about the world today, it has not been able to erase the vulnerability of diverse populations globally to pandemics, outbreaks, and epidemics that costs lives and undercuts economic growth. In 2016, 1,436 people died due to epidemics, and the global economy lost an estimated $562 billion, which is roughly equivalent to 1.3 percent of global income. This places epidemics on par with some major natural disasters in terms of economic cost.In the...

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Epidemic Readiness Still Out of Reach

One could argue that in a world subject to the inevitability of business cycles, the United States is overdue for a recession. During the 60 year period from 1950 to 2010, the US economy experienced 10 recessions, averaging one recession every six years. In contrast, the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth was just shy of 10 years. The US is now in the midst of nine years of economic growth with the last "Great Recession" a fading memory for some. Will 2019 bring recession to the...

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United States: Moving Toward Economic Recession in 2019?

In July, after the NATO summit in Brussels, US President Donald Trump tweeted that "the United States is spending far more on NATO than any other country. This is not fair, nor is it acceptable." But, is the US spending more on NATO than other members? And, if so, is the US spending level unfair relative to that which the US—and the other 28 members—have agreed? Let's look at the data. Measure 1: Defense Expenditures. In 2018,* the US will spend an estimated $706 billion on defense globally....

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Is NATO the Financial Burden of the US?

India is not only the third largest economy in the world, but of the top 10 largest economies globally, it has the third highest share of bad loans, too. India's non-performing loans represent 10 percent of total bank loans and about $210 billion of outstanding debt. Since 2008 when attention shifted globally to financial stability and the role of the banking sector, the share of non-performing loans in India has grown by 7.5 percent and is expected to worsen in the coming years, according to...

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India Battles to Clean Up Bad Loans That Threaten Its Financial Stability

Famous intellects and innovators including the likes of Benjamin Franklin and Nicola Tesla are known not only for their contributions to the world but for doing so on very few hours of sleep per night. We may like to think we could all achieve similar success if we slept less and worked more yet the reality of the human mind and body suggests that insufficient sleep has adverse and far-reaching consequences on our health and well-being and, ultimately, the global economy. The findings of a...

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Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep Across Five OECD Countries

The surge in popularity of sport utlity vehicles in the US has come at a cost, with SUVs overtaking sedans in fatal pedestrian accidents. Experts attribute the higher profile of the front of SUVs—the collision point in most pedestrian collisions—as leading to a higher death rate compared to lower profile sedans. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that light trucks—including SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks—now account for 42.2 percent of pedestrian...

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Pedestrians Beware: SUVs are Popular and Deadly

The Government of Haiti on July 6 imposed price hikes for a variety of fuels, sparking violent protests across the country that cost lives, destroyed property, shut down air traffic, and even caused embassies, business, schools, and other entities to restrict transit and activity in the country. The government increased gasoline prices by 38 percent, kerosene by 51 percent, and diesel by 47 percent. Currently, gasoline costs $0.88 per liter while diesel costs $0.7 per liter, according to...

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Haitian Public Forcing New Approach to Fuel Price Reform

Tens of thousands of Americans have died from the flu during the last five flu seasons, despite US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research findings that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu illness by 40-60 percent and saves thousands of lives each flu season. A variety of factors contributed to the estimated 30.9 million illnesses, 14.5 million medical visits, 600,000 hospitalizations in the US related to flu during the 2016-2017 flu season. According to the CDC, the two...

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US Health Agency Research Supports Vaccinating Against Flu

Just as governments struggle to simultaneously address obesity and hunger, the world’s population continues to grow ... and shrink. The United Nations estimates that between 2015 and 2050 49 countries will experience population declines even as the total world population reaches 9.77 billion. Moreover, in all but two countries the ratio of old population to working-age population will increase by 2050, and an estimated 135 countries will experience fertility rates below replacement rates. While...

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Shrinking Populations: A Challenge for Pension Systems

If energy prices are a reliable indicator, then power grids even in green-friendly Europe are not yet ready for a comprehensive transition to renewable energy. Due to lagging investment and development of storage technologies for renewable power, unseasonably sunny and windy periods across Europe continue to lead to imbalances in power supply and demand that result a bizarre phenomenon: negative energy prices. Electricity prices in several European countries, including Belgium, France,...

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Negative Prices for Energy in Europe Reveal Infrastructure Gaps

Suicide in the US is now considered a major public health issue. In 2016, 45,000 Americans took their own lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 53 percent increase since just 2000. A recent CDC study on trends in suicide rates by US state revealed that in the period from 1999 to 2016 the suicide rate increased in all but one state, Nevada. Among US states, the suicide rate varied from six deaths per 100,000 population in the District of Columbia to 25 in...

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US Suicide Rate

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill about 40 million people annually. Comprising chronic lung diseases, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, NCDs are the result of a characteristic Western, predominantly urban lifestyle and negative environmental factors. Almost three-quarters of global NCD deaths arise from low or middle income countries, where the incidence of NCDs is on the rise. - World Economic Forum The major common lifestyle risk factors of non-communicable diseases are...

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The Global Burden of Non-Communicable Disease

Last year the government of China formally adopted the One Belt One Road Initiative to improve the transport and trading links between China and Eurasian and African countries. A modern day version of the Silk Road network of trade routes between East and West circa 207 BCE, One Belt One Road (aka Belt and Road Initiative or just BRI) will be the largest investment initiative in history. BRI will span more than 68 countries and including an estimated $8 trillion of investment in transportation...

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One Belt One Road: An Investment Perspective for Participating Economies

Taiwan, an island off the southwestern coast of China, is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations. Today, Taiwan is home to 23.7 million people, a population comparable to that of Xinjiang, Beijing, and Shanghai. Despite a recent economic slowdown, Taiwan's GDP per capita stands at $25,000, nearly triple that of China. In terms of PPP, Taiwan ranks 77th in the world; China ranks 108th. While Taiwan is an economic success, the island remains...

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Taiwan: Trade Profile Shaped by Bilateral Trade with China

Consumer sentiment among US residents surged in March to its highest value since 2004, according to the University of Michigan. An improving job market, expectations of increased disposable income from tax cuts, and prospects for continued economic growth offset concerns about tariffs and stock market volatility triggered by the US president’s impulsive tweets and policy shifts. Growing confidence should help to stimulate consumer spending, roughly 69 percent of the US economy in the first...

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U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index

Personal safety, as a basic human need, is encapsulated globally in national legislation and international accords, all with the aim of maintaining public order and safety. While definitions of law and order may vary by country—and with it the tasks assigned to security forces—the source of funding is nearly universally taxpayers. Every taxpayer thereby has the right to know whether these public expenditures are effective. In today’s viz we explore the efficiency of public safety expenditures...

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Public Order and Safety Spending Worldwide

Australia is running a continuous and growing deficit in total oil stocks, defying the International Energy Agency's (IEA) mandate on members to maintain 90-days of coverage and perpetuating the country’s vulnerability to swings in global oil markets. Whether global supply imbalances arise from geopolitical discord, OPEC-sanctioned supply adjustments, or other market balance factors, the fact that Australia maintains no strategic reserve and has less than a 50 day supply of oil bodes poorly for...

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Australia: Oil Stock Levels Pose a Systemic Economic Risk

Russia's recovery from economic recession could be complicated by sanctions announced recently by US President Donald Trump, with still greater potential of painful restrictions on investors and Russian companies seeking to raise capital in Western markets. This year, the US Treasury initiated new sanctions against Russian persons and entities for activities including the alleged poisoning in the UK of former FSB Officer Skripal and his daughter as well as Moscow's alleged meddling in the 2016...

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US Sanctions Against Russia

Corporate growth strategies typically include some combination of deepening existing market penetration and new product and market development. New market entry through acquisitions, greenfield investment, joint venture or other forms are considered generally to be the most controllable ways to drive business growth. And, many emerging markets, such as Brazil, India, Argentina, with their growing middle-classes are attractive targets for these growth strategies. With the ever-increasing...

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The Most Attractive Markets: Understanding China's Market Potential

Oil producers market more than 160 unique crude oils today, each varying from light to heavy, with different sulfur levels and other chemical attributes that affect price and market. Only a few individual crudes—particularly Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI)—serve as industry benchmarks. The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB) is another common benchmark. The ORB represents a weighted average of prices for the petroleum blends produced by the 14 member states of the Organization of the Petroleum...

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OPEC Crude Oil Prices

On March 8, 2018, US president Donald Trump issued two proclamations to adjust US imports of aluminum and steel from all countries except Canada and Mexico, key regional allies and trade partners. President Trump asserted that a 25 percent tariff on steel “articles” and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum articles are necessary for the US to develop its domestic steel and aluminum industries and to protect and create jobs. The US is the world's largest importer of the steel and aluminum articles...

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US Imports of Steel and Aluminium: Tariffs Perspective

The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games XXIII in the Republic of Korea will kick off tomorrow, February 9th, 2018. The fact that the Olympic Committee selected South Korea to host along with the rapidly growing number of international tourist arrivals to the country in recent years suggests that South Korea is a safe and hospitable destination. But, what does the data tell us? Crime. The data tells us that in all likelihood, the flu will be more threatening to tourists and athletes than...

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South Korea a Welcoming Locale for the 2018 Winter Olympics

According to the American Time Use Survey, Americans spend an average of 15 minutes daily playing games. That’s more time than Americans spend walking, grocery shopping, or managing their finances. The gaming industry is evolving rapidly. Every producer wants to involve as many users as possible and offers realistic graphics, new opportunities, and tasks to take advantage of the explosive growth in gaming interfaces made possible by the Internet and smartphones. Producers are also increasing...

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Top 100 Countries by Game Revenues

Ecuador has the world's highest share of nascent entrepreneurs per capita at about 30 percent of the population. This measure is known as total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA). But, does this mean that Ecuador is more entrepreneurial than the United States, which has a TEA of only 14 percent? The answer depends on how we define “entrepreneur”. One key global economic growth driver is the ability of an entrepreneur to bring a concept to market, adding to national income, providing...

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Global Entrepreneurship Index 2018

How will you remember 2017? Today we recall the 20 most notable data stories of 2017 from Knoema's Viz of the Day series.

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Viz of the Day: The Best of 2017

Nine countries in the world are nuclear-capable: China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As of January 2017, these nuclear powers possessed approximately 14,935 nuclear weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Almost 40 percent of total nuclear forces are warheads in central storage that would require some preparation to deploy, such as transportation and loading onto launchers.SIPRI...

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The World's Nuclear Forces

Back in early 2016, Yemen ranked third globally for the number of reported cases of cholera, a disease all too common in developing countries with poor access to reliable water and sanitation facilities. Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that, with proper treatment, can be cured in 99 percent of cases; without treatment, it can kill within hours. By October 2016, the disease moved into the headlines in war-torn Yemen as the first wave of one of the worst cholera outbreaks in modern...

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Cholera Outbreak in Yemen

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold an extraordinary summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, to discuss the repercussions of the announcement of US President Donald Trump last week recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Last Monday, the OIC appealed to its 57 member states to cut ties with any country that recognizes Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem. If the members of the OIC revise bilateral trade relations with the US, which OIC...

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United States: Trade with the Muslim World

On Wednesday, November 15, the oldest among the longest ruling national leaders, Robert Mugabe, the 93-year-old president of Zimbabwe who has ruled the country for 37 years, was taken into custody by the country’s military. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is demanding that President Mugabe resign, despite the president’s refusal to step down ahead of next year's presidential elections. According to press reporting, the military action was in response to Mugabe firing his deputy Emmerson...

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How Did Zimbabwe Change Over 37 Years of Robert Mugabe's Rule?

A recent tweet by US President Donald Trump referred to the contribution of terrorism to increasing crime in the UK as a red flag for the US, triggering an official response from the UK government and public scrutiny of the US president’s assertion. As always at Knoema, we turn to the data. The official report by the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirms that reported crime, including fraud, has increased by 13 percent since last year, yet this is neither the only or necessarily...

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UK Crime Trends Not so Clear Cut

Daphne Caruana Galizia, the lead journalist in the investigation of the Panama Papers and corruption in Malta, was assassinated last week by a car bomb near her home. Ms. Galizia brought the spotlight to Malta’s connection to the infamous Panama Papers. She had also recently exposed in an article on her blog - which was often had a larger readership than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers - the connection of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides to...

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Malta: Decade-Long Erosion of the Rule of Law

Some countries are famous for the quality of their roads (and maybe also the speeds you may go on them). According to the Global Competitiveness Report, the UAE boasts the best roads. France, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Switzerland also have very high-quality roads—with a ‘quality of roads' score higher than 6—and yet none make the top 100 countries by land area and thus all fall outside the group of countries with the largest road networks. If large countries with expansive road networks...

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Road Systems and Corruption Around the World

On September 11, the UN Security Council adopted its 8th sanction resolution against North Korea. The resolution came in response to the country’s nuclear test on September 3 in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996 (CTBT) banning nuclear explosions regardless of purpose. The test was the sixth violation by North Korea. Previously, North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, and twice in 2016. Each time North Korea has conducted nuclear tests, the UN...

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Nuclear Testing: North Korea Breaking Ban

Bitcoins, ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, commonly known as "digital gold", are gaining exposure globally through various media outlets even though very few countries officially recognize cryptocurrency as legal currency. Official national-level regulatory positions relative to cryptocurrency may be separated into three main groups: totally against, legalized, and uncertain. The most interesting situation is uncertain because of the market basis at stake if governments turn away from...

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Legal Status of Cryptocurrencies

The household debt balance in the United States reached a new all-time high of $13.3 trillion in the second quarter of 2018, according to the latest report from the Center for Microeconomic Data of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. US household debt has risen continuously since 2013, now constituting 65 percent of US GDP and exceeding the 2008 pre-crisis level by nearly $475 billion. US household debt is indisputably large in absolute terms, now exceeding the GDP China, the world's...

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Household Debt in the US

In early September, the world learned that the personal data of 143 million Americans, or about half the US population, was compromised by an free-roaming, multi-month penetration of Equifax. As one of three major US consumer credit reporting agencies, the historic breach and suspicious trading of shares by Equifax executives shortly after the breach was discovered moved the US Senate banking committee to convene a panel to question the former Equifax Chair and CEO Richard Smith. With the...

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Equifax and Company: Personal Data Under Siege

Modern and legacy political and military relationships, business investment, and other factors weigh on the power of one’s passport, making the list of least and most welcoming countries globally highly dependent on your citizenship. For example, a German passport holder gains access to more countries than travelers on Chinese or Senegalese passports. However, that same German passport holder cannot visit Equatorial Guinea without a visa while a Chinese passport holder may enter. No matter...

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The Most Welcoming Countries of 2017

North America’s vulnerability to a variety of natural disasters has dominated media coverage in recent weeks. While Hurricane Harvey continued its path across Texas and Louisiana, Mexico was struck by an 8.1 magnitude earthquake, which was then swept out of the headlines as Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean and Southeastern United States. Meanwhile, between the headlines, you may have read about forest fires raging in Canada and the US, recently consuming historic landmarks in...

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North America Under Siege: Hurricanes, Earthquakes, and Forest Fires

Electronic commerce, aka e-commerce, was introduced more than 50 years ago to share financial or business documents from one company to another. Today, with the spread of the Internet and retail giants such as eBay and Amazon, online shopping is probably what comes to mind for most people when they hear e-commerce mentioned. According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce retail sales in 2000 were valued at $27.6 billion. By 2016, e-commerce grew more than 1,300 percent to over $390 billion. The...

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United States: E-Commerce and the Retail Sector

Every day we have just 24 hours to accomplish it all. And, every day we make hundreds of decisions to parse out those 24 hours. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics in its American Time Use Survey examines just how Americans divvy up their time with input gathered from over 180,000 interviewees aged 15 and older. The survey yields unique insight into"how, where, and with whom Americans spend their time”. Following are a few "how" highlights from the 2016 survey: In 2016, Americans spent an...

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United States: Time Use Survey

October 2017 - The water system of Brownsville, Texas, with one of the highest poverty rates in the US, is the largest US water utilities with the worst water quality. Testing in 2015 revealed 12 contaminants above established health guidelines. Among those contaminants, the highest abnormality was arsenic, a naturally occurring mineral that causes bladder, lung and skin cancer, as well as harm to the skin and lungs. Arsenic levels in Brownsville's water supply—serving 176,000 people—were 700...

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Attention USA! Drinking Water Quality

Air pollution occurs when chemical, physical or biological substances alter the natural characteristics of the atmosphere, potentially leading to respiratory and other diseases that can be lethal. Home furnaces, automobiles, industrial plants, and forest fires are the main sources of air pollution worldwide.Among the pollutants of greatest public health concern are particulate matter-including some forms of smoke, soot, dust, salt, acids, and metals - carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide,...

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Clean Air, Healthy Lungs

On August 4, President Paul Kagame won election to serve a third consecutive seven-year term as president of Rwanda, a small African country with a population of 12 million. President Kagame first served as president in 2000 when his predecessor, Pasteur Bizimungu, resigned. Some consider him to be among the longest serving world leaders based on his initial service as Rwanda’s Vice President and Minister of Defence. A 2015 national referendum introduced a constitutional amendment that lifted...

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Rwanda Under the Presidency of Paul Kagame

When we read headlines about mishaps aboard cruise ships and ferries, we immediately wonder, “How safe are these ships?” even if statistically plane crashes are more common and deadly and more highly relied upon by passengers each year. Ship staffs and vessel captains are always on the lookout for a variety of potential disasters at sea including “man overboard” calls that send the ship into emergency rescue mode. Nearly 300 people have gone overboard since 1995, according to Cruise Junkie,...

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Overboard! Cruise and Ferry Passengers & Crew

US fertility rates hit the lowest level ever recorded during the first quarter of 2017, reflecting both biological and social changes among the population, including delaying child-bearing and electively choosing not to have children. The current downward trend started in 2007-2008 shortly before the global economic crisis, which could have affected financial resources and planning decisions, and has only recently slowed to a decrease of about 1 percent annually as of 2015. During the first...

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Fertility Rate in the United States

The Deloitte UK quarterly CFO Survey illuminates the sentiments and strategies of major corporate users of capital to gauge attitudes related to valuations, risk, and financing. Deloitte provides open access to the current and historical survey results to enable analysis and application of the survey results. ___________________ Opponents of the prospective withdrawal of the UK from the EU, aka Brexit, held a protest march in central London on 9 September that gathered tens of thousands of...

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Brexit: CFO Survey from Deloitte

Driven by geography, culture and so much more, countries around the world host an amazing diversity of festivals, some to celebrate, some to remember, and some, … just because! Everfest publishes FEST300, a list of the 300 best upcoming festivals. Here are some fun facts pulled from FEST300: Of the 170 festivals coming up 2018, Everfest rated 26 as 5 star, the highest rating, while the majority—111 festivals—received a 4.5, and only one festival—the Maha Shivaratri in Nepal—earned a 3. ...

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World's Top Festivals of 2018

You sometimes hear, “Oh, to be young,” and there is merit to that sentiment depending on where you live out your retirement years. Retirement security is not an issue weighing on individuals alone. It is among the top social issues globally because of a simple fact: the world’s population is getting older. According to the World Bank, the share of people aged 65 and older will double by 2050 to reach 1.5 billion. Societies must grapple with how to ensure people have the resources and services...

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The Global Retirement Index: Today's Best Countries for Retirement

Take a close look at the top 20 locations worldwide for consumption of distilled spirits and you’ll observe that half of the list is composed of US states. Remarkably, however, the US ranks only 48th of 185 countries for per capita consumption of all alcoholic beverages, according to the World Health Organization. In the ranking by consumption of spirits per capita, the US jumps to 23rd worldwide. Americans consumed a total of about 530 million gallons (2 billion liters) of spirits in 2015....

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US Distilled Spirits Market

The 104th Tour de France began July 1 in Düsseldorf, Germany and will end on the famous Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 23 after riders complete 21 stages and 3,540 km. Among the world’s most famous and prestigious cycling events, the Tour de France has been held each July since 1903.* A multi-stage race finishing in France but traversing neighboring countries, the Tour is organized around five stage types: flat, medium and high mountain, individual time, and intermediate sprint. The 2017 Tour...

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Tour de France Statistics

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