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Crop researchers will aim to improve wheat yields by 50 percent by 2034 to feed a growing world population, according to an announcement at a summit to mark Nobel Peace Prize-laureate Norman Borlaug’s birth.
The International Wheat Yield Partnership hopes to secure $100 million in funding over the next five years, the U.K.’s Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council and the El Batan, Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or Cimmyt, wrote in an e-mailed statement today.
Wheat is a key source of calories and protein for 4.5 billion of Earth’s 7 billion population, according to Cimmyt. The World Bank estimates output of the grain will have to climb by 60 percent from 2000 and 2050 to meet rising demand, the researchers wrote.
“We need a collective global approach to make more wheat available,” Steve Visscher, chairman of the partnership’s board of founding members and deputy Chief Executive Officer of the U.K.’s BBSRC, said in the statement. “It’s the most widely grown staple food crop and new varieties with increased yield will be vital.”
Wheat demand is growing “much faster” than production, according to the statement. The partnership’s founding partners include the BBSRC and Cimmyt, as well as Mexico’s Agriculture Secretariat and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Increases in wheat yields have slowed in developed nations since 1990, and price spikes such as those of 2007-08 and 2011 “are likely to be repeated” should production fall short of demand, according to the statement.
Farmers across the world harvested an average 3.04 metric tons of wheat per hectare (2.47 acres) in the 2012-13 season, and that’s predicted to climb to 3.25 tons in 2013-14, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. Wheat yields have climbed from 2.67 tons per hectare a decade ago and 1.15 tons at the start of the 1960s.
The partnership will allow for scientific breakthroughs currently out of reach, according to Visscher. One focus will be on improving wheat’s use of the sun’s energy, he said.
The partnership was announced at the Borlaug Summit on Wheat for Food in Ciudad Obregon,Mexico. It marks the 100th birthday of Borlaug, an American crop researcher who died in 2009 and whose work on high-yielding wheat varieties helped avert hunger in Mexico, India andPakistan. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in 1970.
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By the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had become a has-been power whose glory days as the world’s superpower were well behind them.
They had been supplanted the French, the British, and the Russian empires in all matters of economic, military, and diplomatic strength. Much of this was due to the Ottoman Empire’s massive debt burden.
In 1868, the Ottoman government spent 17% of its entire tax revenue just to pay interest on the debt.
And they were well past the point of no return where they had to borrow money just to pay interest on the money they had already borrowed.
The increased debt meant the interest payments also increased. And three years later in 1871, the government was spending 32% of its tax revenue just to pay interest.
By 1877, the Ottoman government was spending 52% of its tax revenue just to pay interest. And at that point they were finished. They defaulted that year.
This is a common story throughout history.
The French government saw a meteoric rise in their debt throughout the late 1700s. By 1788, on the eve of the French Revolution, they spent 62% of their tax revenue to pay interest on the debt.
Charles I of Spain had so much debt that by 1559, interest payments exceeded ordinary revenue of the Habsburg monarchy. Spain defaulted four times on its debt before the end of the century.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that an unsustainable debt burden soundly tolls the death knell of a nation’s economy, and its government.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a rocket scientist to figure out what the real numbers are; governments have a vested interest in not being transparent about their debts and interest payments.
In the Land of the Free, for example, the government routinely doesn’t count interest payments that they make to the Social Security Trust Fund.
They’ve managed to convince people that those debts don’t matter ‘because we owe it to ourselves.’
Apparently in their minds, solemn promises made to retirees simply don’t count.
It’s like a person who is in debt up to his eyeballs with both credit card companies and family members has no compunction about stiffing Grandpa.
Obligations are obligations, no matter who they’re owed to.
Taking this into account, total US interest payments in Fiscal Year 2013 were a whopping $415 billion, roughly 17% of total tax revenue. Just like the Ottoman Empire was at in 1868.
Here’s the thing, though– it’s inappropriate to look at total tax revenue when we’re talking about making interest payments.
The IRS collected $2.49 trillion in taxes last year (net of refunds). But of this amount, $891 billion was from payroll tax.
According to FICA and the Social Security Act of 1935, however, this amount is tied directly to funding Social Security and Medicare. It is not to be used for interest payments.
Based on this data, the amount of tax revenue that the US government had available to pay for its operations was $1.599 trillion in FY2013.
This means they actually spent approximately 26% of their available tax revenue just to pay interest last year… a much higher number than 17%.
This is an unbelievable figure. The only thing more unbelievable is how masterfully they understate reality… and the level of deception they employ to conceal the truth.
Inspired by Scotland’s hopes for independence and hot on the heels of Crime’a 95% preference for accession to Russia, 89% of the citizens of Venice voted for their own sovereign state in a ‘referendum’ on independence from Italy. As The Daily Mail reports, the proposed ‘Repubblica Veneta’ includes the five million inhabitants of the Veneto region and has been largely driven by the wealthy ‘who are tired of supporting the poor and crime-ridden south’ (Venice pays EUR71bn in taxes and receives only EUR21bn in services and investment). The ballot appointed a committee of ten who immediately declared independence from Italy. Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome. Wonder why the US, Europe, and Japan have not announced the referendum “illegal” and announced sanctions yet?
Venetians have voted overwhelmingly for their own sovereign state in a ‘referendum’ on independence from Italy.
Inspired by Scotland’s separatist ambitions, 89 per cent of the residents of the lagoon city and its surrounding area, opted to break away from Italy in an unofficial ballot.
The proposed ‘Repubblica Veneta’ would include the five million inhabitants of the Veneto region and could later expand to include parts of Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Wealthy Venetians, under mounting financial pressure in the economic crisis, have rallied in their thousands, after growing tired of supporting Italy’s poor and crime ridden Mezzogiorno south, through high taxation.
Campaigners say that the Rome government receives around 71 billion euros each year in tax from Venice – some 21 billion euros less than it gets back in investment and services.
The ballot also appointed a committee of ten who immediately declared independence from Italy. Venice may now start withholding taxes from Rome.
Campaigner Paolo Bernardini, professor of European history at the University of Insubria in Como, northern Italy, said it was ‘high time’ for Venice to become an autonomous state once again.
‘Although history never repeats itself, we are now experiencing a strong return of little nations, small and prosperous countries, able to interact among each other in the global world.’
‘The Venetian people realized that we are a nation (worthy of) self-rule and openly oppressed, and the entire world is moving towards fragmentation – a positive fragmentation – where local traditions mingle with global exchanges.’
‘We are only at the Big Bang of the movement – but revolutions are born of hunger and we are now hungry. Venice can now escape.’
So how long will it before Barosso, Van Rompuy, Obama, Abe and th rest declare this referendum “illegal” and seek sanctions against the people of Venice…