Lessons in refining food aid from ‘Captain Phillips’
By late Saturday, access had been restored. After the system failed, SNAP and WIC beneficiaries in the affected states were unable to buy food using electronic benefit transfers. Beneficiary access to programs such as SNAP, TANF, and other programs has been restored to the 17 States where Xerox provides EBT service. Re-starting the EBT system required time to ensure service was back at full functionality, Wasmer said in a statement. Courtney Rowe, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, told the Associated Press that the outage was not related to the government shutdown. Earlier Saturday, Brian Schleter, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Human Resources, which provides services to low-income residents, confirmed the problems with the electronic benefits system. He said Maryland officials were in close communication with Xerox and were working to restore service as soon as possible. More than 6,000 Maryland residents received food assistance last month, according to state data. It was unclear how many residents in Maryland were unable to obtain food Saturday. Virginia officials could not be reached for comment Saturday. Before repairs were made, Wasmer suggested that beneficiaries work with their local retailers, who can activate an emergency voucher system where available. We appreciate our clients patience while we work through this outage as quickly as possible, she said. Many people had to walk away from full grocery carts Saturday. Richard Elwell, who lives in Chevy Chase, said someone he knows went to two grocery stores, and was unable to buy food at either.
Food costs drive up inflation, odds of RBI rate hike rise
The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition Managers ofWalmartstores in the small,north Louisianatowns ofSpringhilland Mansfield alerted police on Saturday night that throngs of shoppers had flooded into the stores and were buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits. EBT cards are debit-type cards issued under the state’s food stamp program and coded to show the amount of money available for individuals to spend. Food stamps are a federal government subsidy program for low-income people that is administered by the states. RECOMMENDED: Food stamps: How does the program work? When word got out Saturday that the EBT cards were showing no limits, card holders rushed to area Walmarts to take advantage. “Some people had eight or 10 shopping carts full of groceries,”Springhill PoliceChiefWill Lyndsaid on Monday. Xerox said on Saturday that its systems that process EBT transactions suffered an outage stemming from routine testing of backup generators that malfunctioned.Louisianawas one of 17 states affected by the outage. Kayla Whiting, a spokeswoman atWal-Mart’s Bentonville,Arkansas, headquarters, pointed to Xerox as the source of the problem and referred further questions to Xerox. Xerox corporate spokesmanBill McKeeprovided a written company statement saying that Xerox has a “documented process for retailers likeWal-Martto follow in response to EBT outages.” But the statement left unclear who would cover the unauthorized spending, and it referred further questions toWalmart. Louisianaofficials said they had no intention of being left holding the bag. “The outage was the result of failures by our contractor, Xerox,” saidTrey Williams, a spokesman for theLouisianaDepartment of Children and Family Services. He said emergency procedures in place with Xerox allow retailers to call a phone number and receive authorization for purchases any time the EBT system is down.
In 2011, the Government Accountability Office found that, over a three-year period, the program resulted in $219 million being spent on commodities and shipping that otherwise would have been available for development projects. For all these reasons, President Obama proposed a wide-ranging reform of U.S. food aid programs in his 2014 budget , which was unveiled in April with bipartisan support in the form of a strong endorsement from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.). The plan would have eliminated monetization, permitted greater purchases of locally grown commodities and reduced the preference for shipping on U.S.-flagged vessels . The idea was to help an additional 2 million to 4 million people, at about the same cost as the current programs . Alas, there is no Hollywood ending to this story. Reform legislation has been blocked by the farm and maritime lobbies and the lawmakers from rural and coastal states who do their bidding. Supporters of the status quo certainly cant win the policy arguments. U.S. agricultures case against reform is especially weak; that heavily subsidized sector is booming, thanks in large part to commercial exports. The maritime industry says that the cargo preference for U.S.-flagged vessels preserves a merchant marine fleet for use in a military crisis. But the Defense Department does not consider most of the relevant ships militarily useful. The Pentagons top logistics official, Frank Kendall, has said that the proposed reforms will not impact U.S. maritime readiness and national security . See Captain Phillips. Thrill to the action; ponder its message.
Septembers trade slowdown resulted from a high basis of comparison with last year, the customs administration said in a statement. True Story Sometimes a single months data cant tell the true story, and there are other factors as well, Zheng Yuesheng, a customs spokesman, said at an Oct. 12 briefing when asked about the export drop. I see this as a seasonal thing. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey was for a 5.5 percent gain in September exports from a year earlier after a 7.2 percent pace in August. Sales to South Korea , Taiwan and the European Union declined from a year earlier and growth in shipments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations slid to 9.8 percent from Augusts 30.8 percent pace. Exports to the U.S. rose 4.2 percent, slowing from 6.1 percent in August. There has been an export recovery since July to the U.S. and Europe but its been pretty weak, said Shen Jianguang, Hong Kong-based chief Asia economist at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. The driving force for Chinas recovery at this stage is still housing and infrastructure investment. Distortions that began late last year from fake export invoices used to disguise capital inflows, fewer working days due to the timing of the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, and currency volatility in Southeast Asia have left the trade figures quite murky, Shen said. Regulators in May cracked down on over-invoicing of exports.
The rupee hit record lows in late August, pressured by the country’s gaping current account deficit and a general exodus of global investors from emerging market assets. Adding to the central bank’s worries, core inflation quickened to 2.1 percent in September. “Rising input costs have again pushed up core inflation on a month-on-month basis,” said Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist at Bank of Baroda in Mumbai. “While CAD (current account deficit) worries have faded, inflation continues to remain the major macro risk”. (Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel & Kim Coghill) @yahoofinance on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook Related Content Chart Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the “Enter symbol/company” at the bottom of this module. You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes. Search for share prices Terms Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE, and NYSEAmex when available. See also delay times for other exchanges . Quotes and other information supplied by independent providers identified on the Yahoo! Finance partner page . Quotes are updated automatically, but will be turned off after 25 minutes of inactivity. Quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.