October 12, 2011

Horrifying Reading Skills!

The reading standards of English teenagers have been condemned following a respected survey that found they lag a year-and-a-half behind their Chinese peers.

Ministers will warn today of a ‘stark gulf’ between the ability of 15-year-olds here and those from other leading countries.

Their concern follows the analysis of an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study showing English teens are 18 months behind Chinese of the same age and one year behind those from South Korea and Finland.

They also languish at least six months behind their counterparts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

The analysis underlines the scale of improvements needed to put English teens on a parity in reading with teens from, for example, Shanghai.


Thailand floods: 'Roads are now rivers'

Workers in Thailand are racing to complete floodwalls of sandbags on the outskirts of Bangkok to stop the country's worst floods in years from inundating parts of the capital.

In the province of Ayutthaya - one of the worst-affected areas - people have been moving to evacuation shelters.

At least 270 people have died in the Thailand floods since July. Here BBC website readers in Thailand share their stories.


October 10, 2011

We May Need to Print More Money?

One of the Bank of England’s leading economists has warned it may need to print even more money to bolster the sickly economy.

In a sign of growing fears over a double-dip recession, Dr Martin Weale signalled that it will step up its money-printing scheme if growth does not pick up soon.

The warning came before the Bank has even begun distributing the extra £75billion it set aside for its quantitative easing (QE) programme just days ago.

Today two new reports on Britain’s economic prospects make grim reading for ministers - predicting that growth could go into reverse next year as confidence levels in plunged to two-year lows.

In addition, Dr Weale’s comments came as the country braces itself for the worst labour market figures since the depths of the recession of the early 1990s.

Economists predict official data released on Wednesday will show unemployment rose by 90,000 to 2.54 million in the three months to August, pushing the jobless rate up to eight per cent. That is the worst figure for 17 years.

But Dr Weale, a member of the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee, yesterday admitted there was ‘quite a lot of scope’ for QE to be expanded.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article written by Simon Duke.