The World's Biggest Public Companies, 2015

The Forbes Global 2000 is an annual ranking of the world’s top 2000 public companies published by Forbes magazine since 2003. The companies are ranked according to four basic metrics: profit, sales, assets and market value.

In total, the world's 2000 biggest public companies account for $162 trillion in assets, $39 trillion in revenues, $3 trillion in profits and $48 trillion in market value, according to the 2015 list.

The world's largest company by market value is still Apple, however the technology industry juggernaut from Cupertino is not the leader by the overall score.

United Kingdom general election, 2015

As a result of the surprising UK parliamentary elections, the Conservative Party has got a majority of 330 seats in the new UK Parliament. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have lost much more seats than it had been expected according to the pre-election polls. For the Liberal Democrats it was the absolute defeat: they've lost 48 of 56 parliamentary seats. 

According to the report by The Smith Institute the average age of the Member of Parliament (MP) following the election has risen to 51.2 years  - the highest level in the past years. Only 15% of newly elected and re-elected MPs are under 40 years old (5% less than in 2010). The gender balance continues to improve. In 1987 women made up only 6% of all MPs, whereas in the previous parliament their share improved to 22% and in the newly elected parliament it increased to 29%.

Half Century of US Food Stamps

In 1964 United States by the Food Stamp Act of 1964 have re-established the Food Stamp Program intended to provide food-purchasing assistance for low- and no-income people living in the U.S. In 2008 the program was renamed as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). As of 2014, 46.5 million Americans or 14.6% of resident population were receiving SNAP benefits (monthly average). The average SNAP client received a monthly benefit of $125.35. Total program cost has exceeded 74 billion dollars.

IMF World Economic Outlook, April 2015

In the April 2015 World Economic Outlook (WEO) IMF has revised down global growth forecasts compared to October 2014 estimates. According to IMF, the global growth is projected to be 3.45% in 2015, with uneven prospects across the main countries and regions. Relative to last year, the outlook for advanced economies is slightly improving, while the growth in emerging market and developing economies is projected to be lower, primarily reflecting weaker prospects for some large emerging market economies and oil-exporting countries.

Advanced economies are generally benefiting from lower oil prices. Growth in the United States is projected to exceed 3 percent in 2015–16, but in later years IMF foresees slowdown in US growth to 2% in 2019-2020. Growth in the euro area, after weak second and third quarters of 2014, is showing signs of picking up, supported by lower oil prices, lower interest rates and a weaker currency. After a disappointing 2014, Japan growth is also projected to pick up, sustained by a weaker yen and lower oil prices.

US Social Security & Medicare Outlook

Next year, the US Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund (OASI) for the first time since early 1980s will have a deficit of 13 billion dollars. According to the projections of the US Whitehouse Office of Management and Budget, by 2020 the deficit of the largest US retirement fund will deepen to $123 bln - the level never seen in history.

Despite the expected surpluses in others social and Medicare funds, the US federal social security system as a whole will become insolvent in the next 5 years. Aggregate deficit of the US Social Security trust funds (OASI and the Disability Insurance funds) would amount $70 bln. by the 2020, and about $43 bln. counting Medicare trusts.

The effects of international sanctions on Iran's economy

Last week at the meeting in Lausanne (Switzerland) the United States and five other world powers reached a provisional agreement with Iran to scale back its nuclear program significantly for 10 to 15 years and accept intense international inspections. In exchange, the United States and the international community would lift most of the sanctions that have punished the Iranian economy.

UN E-Government Development Index 2014

Every two years, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) through its Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) publishes the United Nations E-Government Survey. The Survey provides a snapshot with relative rankings of e-government development of all Member States of the United Nations.

By ranking the performance of countries on a relative scale, the Survey provides relevant information to support policy makers in shaping their e-government programmes for development. As a composite indicator, the e-government development index (EGDI) is used to measure the willingness and capacity of national administrations to use information and communication technologies to deliver public services. This measure of the index is useful for government officials, policy makers, researchers and representatives of civil society and the private sector to gain a deeper understanding of the comparative benchmarking of the relative position of a country in utilizing e-government for the delivery of inclusive, accountable and citizen-centric services.