American taxpayer money spent on U.N. programs is often wasted, and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is a prime example. The United States remains the largest contributor to the United Nations, funding 22 percent of the organization’s 2015 budget. The United States is also the single largest donor to UNRWA, paying approximately $380 million toward a nearly $1 billion budget in 2015.
Newly elected Prime Minister Li Keqiang has ordered implementation of the “National Plan on New Urbanization,” which aims to have over 60 percent of the entire population living in cities by 2020 and to initiate a new round of economic growth. [See the figure.] In 2013, China had 712 million people living in cities, with around 600 million still living in rural areas. The main aim of the urbanization plan is to coordinate development of cities and small towns, based on major city clusters, to accommodate 100 million new urban residents by 2020.
The 48 countries south of the Sahara desert in Africa make up the most impoverished and diseased region of the world. Although wealthy countries have poured more than $450 billion of development assistance (in 2003 dollars) into the region since 1980, nearly half the population lives on less than $1 per day, the average life expectancy is only 46 years and nearly one-third of children are underweight and malnourished. Despite its noble intent, aid has not rescued Sub-Saharan Africa from poverty. In many cases, it has undermined development, propped up dictators and fueled corruption.
Does Central Europe still matter to the United States? Twenty years ago, the answer to this question was obvious. For Cold War-era U.S. policymakers, the region stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea – sometimes known as Eastern or East-Central Europe – was among the militarily and geopolitically most important places on earth – the one region where the next world war seemed most likely to begin.
On January 1, 2001, a 13 percent flat tax on personal income took effect in Russia. It replaced a three-tiered system with a 30 percent top rate on taxable income exceeding $5,000. The old system was complicated, and because of the high rates evasion was widespread. It also produced little revenue. The new flat tax has achieved greater compliance due to its simplicity and low rate. It is producing far more revenue than the former system.
The Soviet Union is trying to achieve total military domination of space and is succeeding in this persuit of this objective.