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Due to the nature of news this week, NPRI is doing two editions of BusinessNevada, rather than one E-Bulletin and one BN.
The world's best real estate investor has made billions in the U.S. market. Now he's cashing out and buying overseas.
Tom Barrack is driving a dusty Chevy Suburban around his 1,200-acre mountain ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif. Nestled between the Ronald Reagan estate and Michael Jackson's Neverland, Barrack's spread is a medley of vineyards, pastures, and paddocks. Barrack cruises past the lovingly restored manor house, a rambling adobe aerie framed by allées of cabernet franc, then weaves through a cluster of stables sheltering 60 horses that munch homegrown wild oats. Even in this magical setting, real estate is never far from his thoughts. He stops the Suburban at his favorite spot, a vast polo field planted with delicate, lime-hued Bermuda grass that's easy on the horses' hooves. Then Barrack launches into a parable. "I feel totally safe playing polo on a field full of pros," says the bronzed 58-year-old. "But when amateurs are all over the field, someone can get killed. They have more guts than brains. They charge after every ball and don't know when to hold back." It's the same with the U.S. real estate market right now...
By Kavan Peterson
In the latest snapshot of how well American schoolchildren are learning, national test results showed a small gain in math proficiency in the past two years but nearly zero improvement in reading scores since 1992 despite more than a decade of focus on boosting student achievement.
The achievement gap between students of different races narrowed slightly, but about 70 percent of students nationwide still are scoring below grade level on math and reading tests, according to the latest scores on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests released Oct. 19.
Only about 30 percent of the nation's fourth- and eighth-graders scored high enough to be considered proficient in reading in 2005, nearly the same average as in any year since state NAEP scores were first reported in 1992.
The Senate torpedoed two bills that would have raised the federal minimum wage, defeating competing amendments introduced to an appropriations bill by Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Mike Enzi, Republican of Wyoming.
Both proposals would have inflated the minimum wage to $6.25 from $5.15, but Mr. Enzi's amendment purported to ease the wage hike's burden on small businesses by, among other provisions, reducing the number of enterprises subjected to the minimum wage laws and by allowing small businesses to substitute overtime pay with compensatory time off. While Republicans enjoy a 55-44 majority in the Senate, Mr. Kennedy's bill, cosponsored by Senator Clinton, was defeated by a vote of 51-47,receiving more support than Mr. Enzi's, which was defeated 57-42.
—Staff report, New York Sun
A divided Republican Party, strong opposition derail push for private accounts
By Jackie Calmes
Wall Street Journal
Through two campaigns, George W. Bush vowed to fix and partially privatize Social Security, the nation's most popular government program. This year, claiming a re-election mandate and enjoying a Congress controlled by his party, the president finally made his move. Yet now even the president has acknowledged Social Security is dead for this year, his biggest domestic defeat to date. How could it have gone so wrong?
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Warren Buffett and Bill Gates answer questions on the economy, philanthropy, and investment strategy—an exclusive report
By Daniel Roth
It's the Friday before the University of Nebraska's Big 12 Conference opener in football-mad Lincoln, but the Cornhuskers game isn't the only hot ticket in town. On a beautiful late September afternoon, some 2,000 students are lined up outside the school's Lied Center auditorium, an hour before the doors open. Andrew Schoemacher, a lanky 19-year-old chemical-engineering sophomore, doesn't even have a ticket but hopes he can scrounge one to get inside. How could he miss seeing this show? After all, he says, "It's Bill Gates and Warren Buffett."
Does going to church make people better off or is it that better-off people just go to church?
By Linda Gorman
National Bureau of Economic Research
A number of researchers have found striking correlations between religion and various measures of well being. For example, religious participation is correlated with lower levels of deviant behavior and better health. And, attending religious services weekly, rather than not at all, has the same effect on individuals' reported happiness as moving from the bottom to the top quartile of the income distribution.
However, the same factors that determine religious attendance may also determine these outcomes; for example, it may be that happier people go to church, not that going to church makes you happier. In Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You? (NBER Working Paper No. 11377), NBER Research Associate Jonathan Gruber seeks to solve the problem of estimating the effects of religious participation on earnings and other economic measures.
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