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:: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report

USA Today on Wednesday, as part of an ongoing series about retirement issues in the 21st century, examined how many of the 1.6 million baby boomers at age 62 who will become eligible for Social Security this year "have postponed plans to retire" because of health care costs and other economic concerns.

In 2007, only 45% of large companies subsidized health insurance for early retirees, compared with 88% in 1991, according to Hewitt Associates. As a result, many employees who retire before age 65, when they become eligible for Medicare, would have to find a new source of health insurance, such as the individual coverage market, Rick McGill, head of retiree medical consulting at Hewitt, said

":: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report"

:: Ecuador tiene 255.631 afiliados a la seguridad social en España

La construcción fue el sector económico que registró el mayor número de afiliados extranjeros en marzo pasado, con 369.407 trabajadores inscritos en el Régimen de la Seguridad Social española, informaron este martes fuentes oficiales.

El Ministerio español de Trabajo e Inmigración precisó que tras la construcción, sector en el que los extranjeros suman el 24,71 por ciento del total, la hostelería, con 255.798 afiliados; las actividades inmobiliarias y de alquiler, con 227.822, y la industria manufacturera, con 164.263, son los que aglutinaron más mano de obra extranjera.

Marruecos encabeza la lista de países de procedencia, con 277.671 afiliados, seguido de Rumanía, con 272.886; Ecuador, con 255.631 y Colombia, con 146.467.

":: Ecuador tiene 255.631 afiliados a la seguridad social en España"

:: Crece cifra de extranjeros afiliados al Seguro Social

El número de afiliados extranjeros a la Seguridad Social española creció el 1,1% en enero pasado con respecto a diciembre de 2007 y se situó en los 2 003 839 personas, según datos oficiales difundidos ayer.

Del total, 687 441 extranjeros eran procedentes de la Unión Europea y el resto, 1 316 398, de otros países, precisaron fuentes del Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales. La mayor parte de los afiliados extranjeros procede de Marruecos, 267 631; luego Ecuador, con 253 921 afiliados; Rumania, con 238 314, y Colombia, con 140 749.

No obstante, en el caso de los ecuatorianos, esta cifra se redujo con relación a abril de 2007, cuando se registraron 268 700 personas. En cambio, en el caso de Colombia la cifra subió casi en el doble, pues en esa fecha se anotó un total de 70 989 personas afiliadas.

":: Crece cifra de extranjeros afiliados al Seguro Social"

:: Shocking Numbers on Senior Care

The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis. That's a 24% increase above the inflation rate since 2000. Medical costs are the biggest reason. Last year, for the first time, health care and nursing homes cost the government more than Social Security payments for seniors age 65 and older. The average Social Security benefit per senior in 2007 was $13,184.

'We have a health care crisis. We don't have an entitlement crisis,' says David Certner, legislative policy director of the AARP, which represents seniors." What the hell is that? We have a health care crisis, not an entitlement crisis? Here are the numbers for all of you weenies out there, "We need to get out of Iraq, Mr. Limbaugh, so we can spend money on education and on health care for our children." The cost of government benefits for seniors, $27,289 per person in 2007. "The federal government spent $952 billion in 2007 on elderly benefits, up from $601 billion in 2000. It's the biggest function of the federal government." It's the biggest function of the federal government, senior care!

":: Shocking Numbers on Senior Care"

:: Quailty is King

Once upon a time, the term, "Made in USA," meant something about the high quality of the goods and the pride of the workers who made them. Then something happened. We took our collective eye off the ball, and turned inwardly, concerned more about "me" than "us."

Remember the ad campaigns for Ford ("At Ford, Quality is Job One"), and Maytag (the lonely Maytag repairman)? Those ads have faded away, and so has the sentiment behind them. Have you noticed the decline in quality of products under those two great names? They're not alone – many great names are suffering the same fate. Even Craftsman and Kenmore, the stalwart store brands of Sears, aren't what they used to be.

One of the factors behind this is greed, pure and simple. Companies have become so short-term, bottom-line oriented, that investment in the future has suffered. And what greater investment in the future could there be than satisfying customers so they return for more? Incentive-based compensation programs have wreaked havoc on our values. We've all witnessed the huge windfalls that company executives have reaped while they drove their companies to bankruptcy, by cooking the books to achieve short-term objectives. Not only does this hurt the companies and their investors, but employee loyalty and pride suffers as well.

":: Quailty is King"

:: Undecided and Down to the Wire

With Iowans set to caucus roughly 72 hours from now, uncertainty remains the name of the game. The Democratic race continues to come down to Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards, while former governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are battling for the top spot in the Republican contest.

Although the presidential campaign has been going full force here for the better part of a year, large numbers of voters remain undecided in the final days. Many of them have been attending multiple candidate events in an attempt to make up their minds.

Take, for example, Nancy Baldwin, who turned out yesterday for a rally for Edwards in Boone. She pronounced herself "very impressed" with Edwards after the event but still couldn't say who she would caucus for. "Clinton, Obama and Edwards all stand for change," she told The Fix. "I am ready for change."

":: Undecided and Down to the Wire"

:: Extra cash can come in handy — especially if it's yours

Smart consumers know better than to fall for promises of "free money." Especially when the "transaction" requires you to first mail a sizable personal check to a bank in Belize.

But occasionally, consumers overlook money that's rightfully theirs. As the year moves toward a close, we offer several possible sources of no-strings-attached cash. Don't quit your day job; we're not talking about big bucks. But as those holiday bills start to arrive, every little bit helps. Some examples:

•Currency conversion refund. If you traveled overseas in the past 10 years and used a credit card, you're eligible for a rebate of at least $25.

The rebate stems from the $336 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the major credit card issuers, which were accused of failing to disclose currency conversion fees. These fees can add up to 3% of the cost of foreign purchases. The settlement affects consumers who used a credit or debit card with a Visa, MasterCard or Diner's Club logo, for foreign purchases and transactions between Feb. 1, 1996, and Nov. 8, 2006.

":: Extra cash can come in handy — especially if it's yours"

:: Your identity is worth $21 on the Net

Personal information, including credit card numbers, sold openly:

All of your personal banking and credit card information, your birthdate and your social security data are worth about $21 on the Internet, according to a study released today.

And much of that data may have been stolen from government offices, says the report by computer security firm Symantec Corp.

Symantec says thousands of Internet chatrooms and websites openly sell credit card and personal information for the purpose of identity theft -- and are doing plenty of business.

":: Your identity is worth $21 on the Net"

:: Typos can lead you to imposter credit sites

Sloppy keyboarding can add to your confusion as you search online for your credit data.

At request, anti-virus firm Symantec checked two high-traffic websites — FreeCreditScore.com, operated by Experian, and TrueCredit.com, operated by TransUnion — and found hundreds of "typo squatters" misdirecting consumers to imposter Web pages.

STORY: 'Free' credit reports sometimes aren't free

Typo squatters set up Web pages with Internet addresses that are slightly different from the location of the official site. Their aim: to capture visits from Web users who mistype the official address.

":: Typos can lead you to imposter credit sites"

:: TSA plan could make travel particularly unsafe for some

Major air carriers are opposing a Transportation Security Administration plan to collect the birth dates and genders of airplane travelers, along with their full names, saying the added data collection will create needless hassles.

While the new data collection could add to the annoyance of air travel for the masses of air passengers, the move would pose a special challenge for those of us for whom the question of gender is more complicated than checking one of the two boxes.

Now, I fly a lot. And while some people may see me as female, and others as male, the fact of the matter is that almost no one looks at the gender written on my driver's license. It's there, but right now, the only time it is being checked is when a screener double-checks that the name matches the one on the ticket. Besides, most people use their eyes to determine gender and only if they are particularly confused, will they look at such documentation.

":: TSA plan could make travel particularly unsafe for some"

:: A lesson from the well-prepared traveler

We asked our readers how they cope with difficult travel conditions, or get bypass them altogether. Here are a few of their suggestions.

The well-prepared traveler - Hello fellow flyers!

I have to fly out of Albuquerque, 90 minutes from my town. So, if I have a 6:00 a.m. flight, I take the shuttle the previous evening, stay at an inexpensive hotel which has a shuttle to the airport. This saves me cost of gas and parking (cost of shuttle and hotel costs less than if I drove myself.

From Albuquerque, I avoid travelling through Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver and instead usually go via Phoenix or Dallas-Ft. Worth. I pack a suitcase, and then empty the contents into cardboard boxes and ship them UPS to my U.S.A. destination. ... Yes, it costs $$$, but I don't have to wait in any lines, deal with lost bags or heavy carry-ons or deal with tiny bottles of cosmetics and the like in that 1 quart bag routine.

":: A lesson from the well-prepared traveler"

:: TCS bags $200m Mexico deal

PowerRating -- India's largest software exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that it had won a $200-million outsourcing contract from the Social Security Institute of Mexico (IMSS), which runs pensions, public health and social security for the Mexico government. With over 370,000 employees, IMSS provides coverage to over 50 million Mexican citizens.

The deal, the company?' largest ever deal in Latin America, would be spread over four years. TCS would maintain, manage and provide support for hardware and software related applications for IMSS and its affiliates across systems that run medical insurance, pensions, birth certificates and other services.

TCS won the contract following a public bid process and an assessment based on technology and financial parameters over three other leading global and local technology companies, a company release said. Impressed by the level of technical education and skilled workforce in Latin America, Indian software companies have made a beeline to set up delivery centres in Latin America to service American as well as global clients.

":: TCS bags $200m Mexico deal"

:: Earning trust has benefits

Spanish-speaking immigrants often don't invest in their companies' retirement plans. Juan Chavolla is one of the exceptions.

Juan Chavolla was initially reluctant to join the 401(k) retirement savings program offered by his employer.

An immigrant from Mexico, Chavolla said he feared the money he earned as a warehouse worker for building products distributor OrePac would be lost if he changed jobs. He also figured a savings program in which the employer contributes matching dollars sounded "too good to be true," he said.

"There are some that say it's better to have the money in my pocket than to have it in the program," he said.

":: Earning trust has benefits"

:: Ron Paul: The $4.2 Million Dollar Man

I gave $25 to Ron Paul Monday because I couldn't resist being part of the largest grass-roots fundraising day in the history of American politics. The libertarian Republican raised $4.2 million from 37,000 contributors, according to a final tally provided to USA Today, from an effort that wasn't even organized by the campaign.
The idea to raise his profile with a "money bomb" on Nov. 5 was the brainchild of Trevor Lyman, the publisher of ThisNovember5th.Com. Lyman adopted the incendiary metaphor of Guy Fawkes, using a literal anti-government revolutionary to attract attention to a rhetorical bomb thrower.

In an email Paul sent contributors, the straight-laced doctor sounded more like a child of the '60s than any of the Democratic candidates:

I have to admit being floored by the $4.2 million dollars you raised yesterday for this campaign. And unlike the fatcat operations of the opposition, the average contribution from our 36,672 donors was $103

":: Ron Paul: The $4.2 Million Dollar Man"

Why N.Y. driver's license plan might make us safer

There are many reasons why, years after 9/11, America remains less prepared than it should be for another catastrophic attack. High among them is our tendency to make homeland security policy, and to evaluate it, on the basis of emotion rather than reason.

The latest example of this tendency is the virulent opposition from anti-immigration activists to a proposal by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who wants to eliminate the requirement for driver's license applicants in that state to have a Social Security card.

To be sure, those of us whose principal concern is security must concede that the activists have a point. The ease with which people can illegally enter this country is a loophole terrorists can exploit to pull off another 9/11. And, so, whatever one's view of whether illegal immigration is a net economic benefit or burden (put me in the "benefit" camp), it is imperative that we finally get serious about policing our borders.

"Why N.Y. driver's license plan might make us safer"

:: Contractor to help pay state's data-theft costs

A state contractor has agreed to pay $300,000 to help defray the estimated $3 million cost related to the theft of a computer backup tape containing Social Security numbers and other sensitive information.

Compuware Corp., which worked on the state's new payroll and accounting system, is making the payment in response to the theft from a state intern's car and for ongoing support of the project, according to an Oct. 18 agreement released yesterday.

The state and Compuware have agreed that the settlement "should not be construed in any way" as an admission of liability, and the state will not hold the incident against the company in consideration of future work, the document said.

The funds will be deposited in an account used to support the accounting system, called Ohio Administrative Knowledge System, said Ron Sylvester, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

":: Contractor to help pay state's data-theft costs"

:: Blackwater's 99 Problems

For a company that was supposed to be outside the law, investigations of Blackwater have been proliferating like wild ever since the September 16th Nisour Square shooting, which left seventeen Iraqis dead. The number has been growing so fast, in fact, that we lost count.

So we decided to catch up. Here, then, is our rundown of the ongoing investigations that have been reported. If we miss one, let us know and we'll update our tally.

House oversight committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has, of course, been leading the charge over the preceding months in an investigation that has followed a number of strands. Waxman's probe of the 2004 ambush in Fallujah led to the conclusion that Blackwater's cost-cutting was at the heart of the debacle. And he's continued to widen the scope of the probe since the Nisour Square shootings. As such, it's impossible to detail all of its aspects here. It's concentrated, however, on four main areas:

":: Blackwater's 99 Problems"

:: Driver's Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced Saturday his state will issue three types of driver’s licenses: one for citizens and two others for legal and illegal immigrants. Without federal immigration reform, New York and other U.S. states are forced to confront the problems of illegal immigration on their own, writes NAM contributor Domenico Maceri.

"Terrorists here illegally used licenses to kill my son and thousand of others," stated recently Peter Gadiel, president of Families for a Secure America. Gadiel’s son died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center.

For Gadiel, driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants are associated with terrorism. How can we therefore explain the new regulations approved by Eliot Spitzer, governor of the state of New York, to allow the state’s 500,000 illegal immigrants to obtain legal driver’s licenses?

":: Driver's Licenses for Illegal Immigrants"

:: Security world’s top issue

Terrorism and lawlessness are hampering human and educational development across the world, said Punjab University (PU) registrar Prof Dr Naeem Khan, urging the United Nations (UN) to take up the world’s security on the top of its agenda.

He was delivering a lecture on UN: Changes and Prospects organised by the PU Co-curricular Committee on Thursday to celebrate the United Nations’ Day on the PU New Campus. The day is annually observed from October 20 to October 26.

The registrar, on behalf of vice chancellor Prof Dr Arif Butt, announced the proclamation of the United Nations Day.

Dr Naeem urged students across the world to ensure peace in the academic institutions.

":: Security world’s top issue"

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