What Real Charity Looks Like

Posted by Chris van Avery on 16Mar11.

Dovetailing nicely with previous thoughts on the topic of charity, a blogger and mother of two Israeli soldiers gives us a story of what charity’s supposed to look like . Following the massacre of an Israeli family by an Iranian-backed terrorist organization , one man is taking up an extraordinary committment to be a ”good neighbor”:

Quietly, over the last few days, a man has been coming to the house bringing food and stocking the kitchen. His name is Rami Levy and he owns a chain of supermarkets. I’ve heard amazing stories about him in the past but this one beats all I have ever heard.

Every day, Rami Levi comes by the shiva house to the Fogel family and fills the cupboards and refrigerator himself with food for the family and guests. Today, one of the relatives thanked him for this incredible kindness and his response brought me to tears,”You will get used to my face,” he told this family in mourning, “I have committed myself that every week I will deliver food and stock your home until the youngest orphan turns 18 years old.”

The youngest orphan of this tragedy is a young 2 year old boy who woke in the night and ran to his parents. Thankfully, by then, the terrorists had left, leaving a scene of unimaginable horror behind. The little boy ran to his parents and began to shake them, trying to wake them. His sister and a neighbor found him there, crying.

What Rami Levy has done is commit to 16 years of kindness.

As the owner of a supermarket chain, it may indeed be a small thing to Mr. Levy. But it undoubtedly should serve as a big example to the rest of us.

  Food’s Dangerous Price Rise in Two Pictures

Posted by Chris van Avery on 03Mar11.

CNN posted a dramatic illustration of the price rise in key grains today that’s worth considering:

food prices graphed
That’s just the recent price of two commodities globally. Check out what the price of food in general has done globally over the past 40 years.

Asia food prices graph

The article then goes on to describe why the situation is likely to go from bad to worse.

Global food prices have been moving higher in recent months as demand from emerging nations increases, and bad weather in certain parts of the world has cut the supply of key agricultural commodities.

But the recent run-up in oil prices threatens to make the situation even worse, the FAO warned.

“Unexpected oil price spikes could further exacerbate an already precarious situation in food markets,” said FAO director David Hallam in a statement. “This adds even more uncertainty concerning the price outlook, just as plantings for crops in some of the major growing regions are about to start.”

Linkages are always the key. If you’re watching food and oil prices, inflation, growth, unemployment, etc…, independently of one another, you’re going to be missing the big picture.

  Why Food Prices Are a BIG Deal

Posted by Chris van Avery on 25Feb11.

Readers here will note that I’ve been keeping a close eye on food prices of late, and reports like this always get the hair standing up on the back of my neck:

Economist Joachim von Braun, director of the Center for Development Research in Bonn, Germany, says the world could be facing a new era of expensive food. “The best forecasting models for the long run, for the next few decades,” von Braun says, “are that we may have to face 50 percent increases in grain prices by 2030 and further increases, up to doubling trend prices, by the middle of the century.”

If current trends are any indication, these trends are likely to bring plenty of political instability in their wake. Experts note that rising food prices in countries like Egypt, where the average citizen spends some 40 percent of his or her annual income on food, have been a major factor in the political turmoil rocking the Middle East.

Rising prices in general can be a cause of concern, but skyrocketing food prices should provoke particular concern because they can contribute to stagflation, a situation where growth stagnates while inflation increases. Food in general is not a discretionary expense. You can adjust most spending habits, and to some extent you can adjust what kind of food you buy, but when underlying sources of food like grain get expensive, you’re now spending more of your income on food and less on activities that promote economic growth. Oil, too, can produce similar effects, and the price of oil has once again pushed above the $100/bbl mark.

  Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 18Feb11.

The ‘day of rage’ in Libya leaves 20 people dead
Military rules out role in new Egypt setup
Only pressure from below can bring Egypt democracy
Iran hopes for Egypt in new orbit
Iran asks for warships to pass Suez Canal: Egypt
Israel Wary Of Iran Naval Power Play: Analysts
Iran opposition leaders to stand trial for sedition
Saudi prince warns of uprising threat
Six dead as police storm Bahrain square
Bahrain pulled back from “sectarian abyss”: foreign minister
Bahrain security forces accused of deliberately recruiting foreign nationals
Bahrain crackdown will make citizens more determined
Britain May Block Arms Exports To Bahrain
Thousands of Yemenis protest nationwide
Kurdish guards fire on protesters in Iraq; 2 killed
Baghdad city officials seek $1B for war damage
‘Syrian embassy aided Hezbollah prisoner’s escape’
Abbas: No polls if Gaza does not participate
19 Million Unemployed In Arab Countries By 2020
Pakistan’s Mubarak Moment
Pak court adjourns US diplomat’s immunity case till March 14
US-Pakistan ‘Strategic Partnership’ After the Raymond Davis Incident
Turkey, Jordan strengthen ties, sign nuclear agreement
Turkey slams US envoy over press freedom comments
Amid warming relations with China, Taiwan’s president seeks more U.S. arms
Moscow eyes energy control
Indian kidnap halts Maoist hunt
A Reality Check on India, Pakistan
Sudan Establishes Unit to Bring Down Opposition Websites
Survey finds one-quarter of Africans fear religious conflict
20 killed in Tanzania military blasts
Global Food Price Spike Adding To Civil Unrest, Some Say
Chinese drought threatens crops
Cotton hits $2 a pound
Al-Jazeera: The World Through Arab Eyes

Military to bolster its forces in Pacific
Gates: Prospects For Closing Guantanamo ‘Very, Very Low’
Russian Military Build-up in the Pacific May Not be Aimed at Japan
Over The Horizon: The Russian Navy’s Strategic Limitations
IED toll in Afghanistan reduced by 37 percent
Scientists build first anti-laser

Inflation makes comeback as prices rise for food, fuel
Gold demand hit 10-year high last year
Europe: Till Debt Do Us Part
US prices rose by 0.4% in January
Beijing restricts property buying

All voices heard as House brainstorms for budget trims
House votes to overthrow ‘czars’
House breaks old taboos in cutting spree; Murtha’s project taken off dole
Four States Win Obamacare Passes
Public Unions Have Too Much Control
Innovation is hostage to regulations

Egypt’s Christians Keep Wary Eye On Muslim Brotherhood
Austria grants refuge to 30 Iraqi Christians
Sub-Saharan Africa one of the world’s most religious places
Local Churches Hard Hit as Recession Spreads
National Debt Hot Issue for Evangelicals
Hawaii eyes gay ceremonies after civil unions pass
New Poll Reveals American Attitudes Toward U.S. Muslim Community

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