Some BBC articles of note...
Iraq 'needs tens of billions'
Really, nobody should be too surprised - I mean, we're talking about overhauling the entire infrastructure of an entire country here. What I find interesting is the play between this funding, the services provided by private companies (mostly) from the States, such as Halliburton, and the role of the Iraqis. In the end, it'll be a bit of both, but I suspect most of the decisions and most of the financial interest stuff will be funded by, or answerable to the big companies. Or maybe I'm naive. Still it's interesting to see a country being rebuilt.
Support your local corner shop?
The plight of small cornershops against a new breed of "mini-superstores". A couple of interesting points - "small-scale" advertising that's non-profit based, the power of economies-of-scale, and the comments below that claim cornershops are actually quite useless anyway, and a bit of competition is definitely a good thing.
I kind of agree with all of this, ha. I've started shopping at the local market and local butchers, as a). it's friendlier - people actually talk to you while they're serving you, b). it's cheaper - you should see the amount of meat you can get for a fiver. But also yes, many "traditional" small shops are also pants - grumpy service, crap goods... tho these seem to be far more franchised than independent.
Credit card culture takes hold
"Out of the 2,000 adults surveyed, 16% said that they had substantial debts of between £10,000 and £40,000."
Ha, fools. I really don't get it. People constantly worry about ramping up enough money to see them into death, but then completely ignore this and just spend more. I have even less sympathy. I'm about to completely get rid of my overdraft, and I figure I can pay off most of my debt in the next year, if I'm just a bit careful and stop buying useless crap that I never use.