- From the page: "Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week to the lowest level in three months, indicating companies are slowing the pace of firings.
Jobless claims dropped by 11,000 to 445,000 in the week ended Oct. 2, the fewest since July 10, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists projected 455,000 new claims last week, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. The total number of people receiving unemployment insurance decreased and those getting extended payments jumped. "
- From the page: For months, companies have been sitting on the sidelines with record piles of cash, too nervous to spend. Now they're starting to deploy some of that money - not to hire workers or build factories, but to prop up their share prices.
Sitting on these unprecedented levels of cash, U.S. companies are buying back their own stock in droves. So far this year, firms have announced they will purchase $273 billion of their own shares, more than five times as much compared with this time last year, according to Birinyi Associates, a stock market research firm. But the rise in buybacks signals that many companies are still hesitant to spend their cash on the job-generating activities that could produce economic growth.
- From the page: "Correlations in economic data that suggest higher credit helps cause higher growth are not worth much " if they fail to take into account future losses on bad credit. If G.D.P. were adjusted with provisions for future losses, G.D.P. growth would be lower during periods where credit grows very fast."
- From the page: "Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the author with Republican Judd Gregg of the only bipartisan plan to overhaul the tax code, said he saw a sliver of light this week when Obama said he wanted to find ways to lower the corporate tax rate - a cornerstone of their plan.
"The fact that the president has put it on the table so early I think is a huge deal," Wyden told a packed room of tax lawyers, experts and aides to lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the Wyden-Gregg plan."
- From the page: "UN condemned over 'appalling' Haiti earthquake camps
A girl stands next to tents destroyed by heavy rains in Port-au-Prince on 25 September The report says camps for displaced Haitians are squalid and close to anarchy
A US charity has issued a damning criticism of efforts by the UN to help those made homeless by the devastating quake in Haiti almost 10 months ago.
The group, Refugees International, says the UN bodies in charge of camps for displaced Haitians are inexperienced, dysfunctional and lack translators"
- From the page: "Americans die sooner than citizens of a dozen other developed nations and the usual suspects -- obesity, traffic accidents and a high murder rate -- are not to blame, researchers reported on Thursday.
Instead, poor healthcare may be to blame, the team at Columbia University in New York reported."
- A previously unseen poem by Ted Hughes that details the painful moments surrounding the suicide of his wife Sylvia Plath is being published by The New Statesman on Thursday, the magazine said.
Hughes, an English poet laureate, and Plath, his American wife, are considered among the 20th century's greatest poets. Their doomed marriage inspired some of their best work and has been the focus of endless fascination.
- 'The thesis was true in 1990: then, over 90% of the worldâ€s poor lived in the worldâ€s poorest places. But it looks out of date now. Andy Sumner of Britainâ€s Institute of Development Studies* reckons that almost three-quarters of the 1.3 billion-odd people existing below the $1.25 a day poverty line now live in middle-income countries. Only a quarter live in the poorest states (mostly in Africa). '