Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Talking points for 3/21/12

The bottom line

American exports to China have increased 468 percent since 2001, and are up nearly 50 percent since 2008. The rise is attributed to the growing Chinese middle class, with the biggest U.S. export to the country being food, particularly soybeans, snack foods, pork, and dairy products.
The Washington Post

Contrary to economists’ expectations, the global recession has not increased extreme poverty. The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell in every developing region between 2005 and 2008, according to the World Bank, and data from 2010 show the declining trend continuing.
The New York Times

Sara Blakely, the 41-year-old founder of Spanx, is the youngest female on this year’s Forbes annual World’s Billionaires list without an inheritance or help from a husband. She is estimated to be worth $1 billion thanks to the huge popularity of her company’s slimming undergarments for men and women.

Public schools lure foreigners

Struggling small towns across the U.S. are “putting their empty classroom seats up for sale” to high-paying international students, said Stephanie Simon in Stung by funding cuts and dwindling enrollment, schools in towns like Sharpsville, Pa., and Lavaca, Ark., have been wooing young foreigners, who pay as much as $30,000 a year to attend a U.S. public school. The foreign students’ ultimate goal: “Admission to a U.S. college.” The numbers are still small: Just 1,135 foreign students are paying to attend a U.S. public high school, but that’s up from 309 five years ago. Eleven students from China, Thailand, Germany, and elsewhere make up nearly 20 percent of high school enrollment in tiny Revillo, S.D., this year. “We’ve got something to sell,” says Barb Hoyles, who connects the students with host families. “That’s huge for us.”

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