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July 9, 2006 | James Gilden, You can reach James Gilden at Travel Insider welcomes comments but can't respond individually to letters and calls. Write to Travel Insider, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, or e-mail
IF you are one of the millions of Americans heading overseas this summer, you may find confusion rather than acceptance when you try to use your credit card. And it will be up to you to set recalcitrant clerks straight. The confusion stems from mandates by governments to card issuers (including American Express, MasterCard and Visa, both credit and debit cards) in foreign countries to adopt the "smart card," also known as "chip and PIN" technology, for credit cards issued in that country.
From the world's farthest corners, Argentina and Australia are in. But Arab powers and former partners Egypt and Syria are out. And front-line states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have a foot in each camp. Seven years after the Persian Gulf War, the United States this week put finishing touches on a new coalition supporting the use of military force against Iraq if Baghdad continues to block United Nations inspectors from seeking out weapons of mass destruction.
May 10, 2006 | Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer
U.N. members elected 47 countries to a new Human Rights Council on Tuesday, choosing several that have been criticized for their poor records but keeping off others that rights groups said were the worst offenders. Cuba, China, Russia, Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia were among countries winning seats that human rights advocates say do not merit places on the council.
The number of countries across the globe that qualify as free has reached a record high of 75, although the total population living in freedom has fallen, a human rights organization reports. The list of "free" nations increased by 13 in 1991, largely reflecting the collapse of communism in the old Soviet Union and Eastern Europe but also because of some gains in Africa and Asia.
December 6, 2011 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
The United States continues to outpace other developed economies globally with one of the biggest divides between rich and poor, according to a new report. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reported that the average income of the richest 10% in developed nations is nine times that of the poorest 10%, up from five times as large in the 1980s. The difference between the highest and lowest paid is greater in the United States than in most other wealthy countries, while inequality has risen faster in others such as Sweden and Finland, the report says.
The United States ranks among the most literate nations in the Western world, surpassed only by three Scandinavian countries, Canada and the Netherlands, according to a survey released Friday. At the same time, a high percentage of older Americans lack even rudimentary skills to read the instructions on a bottle of medicine, the study showed. Finland, Norway and Sweden--home to relatively homogeneous populations--led the pack among adults ages 26 to 65. Sweden took top honors.
May 6, 2013 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - When Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development from his impoverished country last week, he complained that Washington "still has a mentality of domination and submission" in the region. It was a familiar charge for the State Department's principal foreign aid agency. In the last two years, it has been booted out of Russia, snubbed in Egypt and declared unwelcome by a bloc of left-leaning Latin American countries. USAID "threatens our sovereignty and stability," the eight-nation Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas fumed in June in a resolution that accused the United States of political interference, conspiracy and "looting our natural resources.
March 16, 1987 | DON IRWIN, Times Staff Writer
Switzerland is the most comfortable nation in which to live, the United States is in fifth place and Mozambique and Angola are the least desirable of 130 countries surveyed by the Population Crisis Committee. The committee's report, issued here Sunday, ranked the nations according to a "human suffering index" designed to establish a relationship between rapid population growth and problems that are emerging for many fast-growing parts of the Third World.
August 11, 2011 | By Michael O'Hanlon
Amid all the talk of gloom and doom in the United States, with the stock market's near-crash and the renewed threat of a double-dip recession, it is worth pausing to remember that the United States remains the greatest country on Earth. It is also the country with the most promising future. I make these assertions not as a matter of national pride, but as an analytical conclusion. This is not to discourage serious attention to deficit reduction, economic renewal and political reform — all of which we greatly need — or to trivialize the country's admittedly serious problems.
January 23, 1996 | Reuters
Israel and Tunisia agreed Monday to open diplomatic offices in each other's countries by April 15, a move hailed by the United States as a step forward in the Middle East peace process. The foreign ministers of the two countries finalized the agreement, which falls short of full diplomatic relations, at a joint meeting in the State Department with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
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