For those hoping that the economy is merely going through a “soft patch” right now, the weight of evidence suggests something more serious. Two years after the Great Recession ended, the economic expansion has slowed to an annual rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 versus 3.1 percent in the final quarter of 2010. Why is the rebound so tepid? Here are three key indicators, which historically help boost recoveries, but stand in the way this time:
The modest recovery in the US economy since 2009 has been marked by tepid job creation – a trend that needs to change if the nation is to return to the kind of low unemployment rates that prevailed before the recession. But how to do that? In one of the most detailed efforts the address that question, the McKinsey Global Institute put out a set of recommendations on how to create 21 million new jobs by 2020, bringing unemployment down to 5 percent. Here's a look at the institute's core proposals:
Syrian protesters have so far been unable to topple the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in large part because physical repression has served as a powerful deterrent against their goals. The risk of death, torture, or imprisonment for life can shake even the most resolute, courageous, and determined demonstrator. Yet physical repression is not the only reason why the protesters have suffered serious setbacks. Middle East expert Bilal Y. Saab of The University of Maryland gives us seven other factors that explain why things might get worse before they get better for the protesters in Syria.
As any woman will tell you, behind every successful marriage there is likely to be a secret or two – for example, the fact that not every single pair of shoes she's bought in the last 14 years was reduced to half price. Still, any divorce lawyer who overhears your conversation will attest that secrets, especially significant ones, are not conducive to long-term marital happiness. They can pull a couple apart even if the motive behind them was well-meaning. These five novels defy that axiom: their plots are shaped by secrets that come close to destroying relationships – and in some cases, lives – and yet honesty wins out.
In a single Google doodle, the search engine somehow captured both of Les Paul's incredible contributions to modern music: The solid-body electric guitar, shown in the look and sound of today's Google logo; and multitrack recording, presented, in some degree, through Google's clever record feature. This interactive Les Paul tribute caught the imagination of armchair guitarists across the country, no doubt derailing office productivity in the process. Since strumming with your mouse is a little imprecise, Google also allowed people to play through their keyboards. Once you click the record button, type any number key to pick at a corresponding string. The 1 key plays the lowest note, 0 strums the highest. Plus, if you hit several number (or letter) keys at a time, you'll play a chord. YouTube has many excellent recordings from the Google guitar. Here are some of the best, in no particular order. The final page of this story will have some instructions on how you can play your own version. If you record a good session, share it with the world by posting the URL in our comments section.
After a couple dreary years, the economies of most states began to grow again in 2010. Forty-eight of the 50 states showed a gain in gross domestic product, according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. (Click ahead to see which two states did not grow.) The US as a whole saw GDP grow by 2.6 percent last year. But some states more than doubled that rate, thanks to gains in durable goods manufacturing, retail trade, finance, and insurance. Here's a look at the Top 5 fastest-growing states:
The European Union is planning to offer €150 million ($220 million) in aid to European farmers who have suffered huge financial losses since the outbreak in early May of E. coli in northern Germany. The agricultural industry across Europe took a hit when inability to determine the source of the outbreak caused fear of consuming fresh produce. The question now: Is €150 million enough to make up for their losses? Here are the five countries most severely affected by the crisis.
Seventy-five years ago this month, a novel by an unknown young journalist from Atlanta was published. Originally submitted as a manuscript stuffed into dozens of manila folders, the book was a love story set against the backdrop of the US Civil War. Today, Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” remains one of the bestselling books of all time. It has been translated into 35 languages, sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide, won a Pulitzer Prize, and earned eight Academy Awards as a Hollywood motion picture. Here are some of the many reasons we still love "GWTW."
Maybe individual investors can’t fix the broad regulatory breakdown that has allowed financial frauds to occur, like dodgy mortgage-backed securities and Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme. But they can take steps to protect themselves against unscrupulous financial advisers. Knowledge is the best weapon. The more investors know, the less likely they are to be taken advantage of by a dishonest broker. Here are four ways you can ensure your broker is following the rules:
Captain Kirk never said "Beam me up, Scotty!" Ilsa Laszlow never said, "Play it again, Sam," and Sherlock Holmes never said, "Elementary, my dear Watson." But these misquotes remain firmly lodged in the public consciousness, even though they appear nowhere in the original works. The same is true for things "said" – that is, widely attributed to, but not actually said – by political figures. Sometimes a misquote is cooked up by opponents or parodists as a way of discrediting or mocking the figure. Sometimes a line is attributed to a widely admired person as a way of making it sound more authoritative, like when someone co-signs a loan. And sometimes it's just a mistake. Here are 10 of the most widely believed – but completely bogus – things ever "said" by political figures.
The news this week of a hacker attack against hundreds of prominent users of Google Mail has served up a reminder: The security of digital information is often tenuous, despite many safeguards now in place. What can you do to protect against an invasion of personal information? Here are tips from Google and other privacy experts to make a data breach less likely:
Mitt Romney, who declared his candidacy June 2 in New Hampshire, has been groomed to run for president. He has the look and the political lineage. He’s been a governor, the quintessential training ground. And he’s essentially never stopped running since he conceded his first White House bid three years ago.
Today is Jerusalem Day in Israel, the anniversary of the day in the 1967 war when Israel took the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan. More than 40 years later, Jerusalem remains one of the largest hurdles to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel insists Jerusalem is its ‘undivided and eternal’ capital while Palestinians insist on securing a capital in East Jerusalem. Here are three reasons why Jerusalem is so important to both sides.
Some of this summer's most interesting books will taken you traveling: from suburban Vermont to 19th-century Paris, from the sweltering Amazon to 1950s communist China, and from psychological thriller to sci-fi apocalypse. Here are seven of the titles that drew the most enthusiastic thumbs-up from the editors at Amazon.com.
Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb Army leader who is considered responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, arrived in The Hague Tuesday. He will be placed in the same detention center as the others facing trial in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Mr. Mladic faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in detention, but as detention centers go, the 'Hague Hilton,' as it is sometimes called, may not be such a bad place to stay.
"Follow your bliss." "You can be whatever you want to be." "Never give up." Google reveals those three platitudes to be the ones most often spoken at commencements, according to Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine. Many speakers, however – including Mr. Stengel – offered more insightful advice to college graduates this spring. Here are the Monitor's hand-picked highlights from the 2011 season.
Summer is the season of eating outdoors. Typically, that means food that is either grilled or packed into portable containers and served cold. From the Monitor's archives, here is a list of 15 recipes – some exotic, some traditional, and all delectable – to help you prepare for your next picnic, barbecue, or day at the beach.