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Leading Economic Indicators

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Dec. 30, 2015

Leading Economic Indicators

First-World Spending: According to estimates released by the National Retail Federation in September, 157 million Americans "planned to celebrate" Halloween, spending a total of $6.9 billion, of which $2.5 billion would be on costumes, including $350 million dressing up family pets. [National Retail Federation press release, 9-23-2015]

At a ceremony in Kabul in November, prominent Afghan developer Khalilullah Frozi signed a $95 million contract to build an 8,800-unit township and was, according to a New York Times dispatch, toasted for his role in the country's economic rebirth. However, at nightfall, Frozi headed back to prison to resume his 15-year sentence for defrauding Kabul Bank of nearly $1 billion in depositors' money. Because he remains one of Afghanistan's elite, arrangements were made for him to work days but spend his nights in prison (in comfortable quarters). Said one Western official, laconically, "(I)f you have stolen enough money, you can get away with it." [New York Times, 11-4-2015]

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