Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. The unemployment rate and the under-employment rate both rose in February, according to a Gallup survey. The combined rate of 19.9 per cent was identical to the Gallup number of one year ago.
2. Food prices are high and they will stay that way, according to a new report from the IMF. Structural changes in the global economy were cited by the study as the principal reason prices will remain high.
3. The Obama administration is assuming that Islamist governments will arise in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that popular uprisings in the region will result in a more religious cast to the politics there.
4. Be careful where you wish to intervene. Experts warn that intervening in Libya would be every bit as difficult as intervening in Afghanistan.
5. One of the potentially dreadful consequences of the uprising in Libya is this: weapons looted from Libyan government stockpiles could end up in the hands of terrorists. Experts are particularly concerned about heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles.
6. Pakistani officials again floated the idea of the US paying “blood money” to the families of the “victims” in the Raymond Davis case. The families involved appear disinterested in any such deal.
7. The Washington Post reports what you already know: Pension funds for state and local workers in the United States are understating the amount they will owe workers by $1.5 trillion or more….meaning that the benefits are much costlier than many governments and taxpayers thought.
8. The only way to fix the US deficit is to tackle so-called “entitlement spending.” House Speaker John Boehner is promising to do just that. Good for him.
9. A bill that recognises U.S. gold and silver coins as legal tender and exempts their sale from the state capital gains tax passed the Utah House Government Operations Committee Wednesday. Supporters say the bill is a first step to creating an “inflation-proof” alternative to the “paper dollar.”
10 Covenant-light bonds (or “cov-lites,” as they are called) are back! Five years ago, cov-lites seemed to epitomize go-go, who-cares financial wizardry. Gillian Tett argues that this time, cov-lites aren’t something regulators really need to worry about.
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