Business and financeGulliver

Donald Trump is right: America’s airports are awful

FACT-CHECKERS had a field day with Donald Trump’s Monday night debate performance, finding fault with his claims on a wide array of subjects, from Barack Obama’s birthplace to whether he has denied climate change. But one statement he made largely evaded scrutiny. “Our airports are like from a third-world country,” he said during a brief exchange on American infrastructure, specifically mentioning New York’s three international airports and Los Angeles International Airport.

More Trump hyperbole? Actually, no. This might be a rare Trump understatement.

Skytrax releases an annual ranking of the world’s top 100 airports. This year’s list puts five airports in developing countries ahead of the top American airport, Denver International, which lies in 28th place. (“Third-world country” is a dated and loaded term, so I am referring…Continue reading

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Oracle OpenWorld

Larry Ellison was having too much fun. In his second keynote of this year’s Oracle OpenWorld user conference, he was talking about his company’s database, Oracle 12c, and comparing it highly favorably to Amazon’s competing databases. It seems Ellison always has fun, which is one likely reason that the 72 year-old CTO and executive chairman of the board, looks 52, sounds 42, and probably feels 32.

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Fat help

BACK in Syria food was cheap, remembers Maya, as she sits cross-legged in the small flat she shares with her husband, their five children and another couple in Amman, Jordan’s capital. When she first arrived here, she had to cut back. But now, with her husband working and 20 dinars ($28) a month from the World Food Programme (WFP), a UN agency, she can buy the children a treat like fish or chicken.

Scattered across Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are 4.4m registered Syrian refugees, 90% of whom, like Maya, live outside formal refugee camps. This makes it a logistical nightmare to get the traditional food aid to them—sacks of rice and pulses. The WFP, the world’s largest food-aid provider, has adapted: a decade ago, it doled out aid only in kind. Now just over a quarter of its aid globally is cash-based. Every month Maya gets a text message alerting her that her special debit card, which she can use only to buy food, has been topped up. The WFP reaches around 1.1m refugees like this in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

This week saw the launch in neighbouring Turkey of the largest-ever humanitarian-aid project financed by the EU: a whopping €348m…Continue reading

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