Money Matters - Simplified


You Wasted the Past 10 Years of Your Life

If you think the stock market is the road to a comfortable early retirement, you're wrong. You may have thought about cashing in on the long-term average annual returns of 7% (post-inflation) you heard you could get from investing in stocks, but I'm here to tell you to think again.

Oddly shaped Mars crater a cosmic puzzle

Paris -- An elongated crater on Mars is a mystery, say European scientists scrambling for an explanation of its odd shape.

Named Orcus Patera, the enigmatic elliptical depression lies near Mars's equator, in the eastern hemisphere of the planet. Located between the volcanoes Elysium Mons and Olympus Mons, how it was formed remains a mystery, a European Space Agency release said Friday.

The term 'patera' is used for deep, complex or irregularly shaped volcanic craters, but despite its name and its location near known volcanoes, the actual origin of Orcus Patera is still unknown, scientists say.

Honda Jazz to get a hybrid engine

Torrance, Calif. -- Honda Motors said it would outfit the Jazz for European and Asian markets with a hybrid engine starting in 2011.

The Honda Jazz is called the Honda Fit in North America, but the version sold in the United States will not be outfitted with the newer engine, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The company said it would use the same engine and gear box for the hybrid Jazz that is used in the Honda Insight and Honda Civic hybrids.

Honda spokesman Chris Naughton said there are no plans to introduce a hybrid version of the Fit to North American markets.

Satellite enlisted to measure flooding

Paris -- A European "water satellite" is giving researchers a different way to look at the recent devastating monsoon floods in Pakistan, officials say.


The European Space Agency's orbiting Smos spacecraft can sense the moisture level in soils, and the unique instrument has been trained on the areas in Pakistan where some 20 million people in 62,000 square miles -- almost a fifth of the country -- have been affected by the floods, the BBC reported.

Data gathered by the satellite has been processed to make a series of maps covering the spreading reach of the flooding.

The satellite carries instruments that sense the natural emission of microwaves coming off the earth's surface, a signal that changes with levels of moisture in the soil.

Hundreds await airline reimbursement

Brussels -- Dutch airline KLM has not reimbursed hundreds of British passengers for delays caused by the volcanic ash cloud that engulfed much of Europe, observers say.

The European Union has threatened legal action against the airline to force it to pay passenger expenses caused by the volcanic cloud, which shut down air traffic over much of Europe for 18 days in April and May, the BBC reported Saturday.

EU rules require airlines to cover reasonable hotel and meal costs for passengers but KLM says it will pay for only 24 hours, the British broadcaster said. In some cases, passengers were stranded a week or more.

KLM said it paid for only 24 hours to resolve compensation cases quickly for thousands of European customers.

Amnesty brings campaign to U2 shows

Washington -- Amnesty International says it will extend the promotion of its "Demand Dignity" campaign at stadiums on the European leg of U2's concert tour.

The organization sent representatives to talk to concertgoers at the Irish rock band's Aug. 6 gig in Turin, Italy.

Amnesty volunteers will be on hand at upcoming concerts to give fans the chance to join its campaign, which aims to end the human rights violations that fuel global poverty, the group said.

WB report warns about European crisis

Washington -- The global economy is likely to grow 2.9 percent to 3.3 percent in 2010 and 2011 but Europe's debt crisis poses problems for global growth, the World Bank said.

In its latest Global Economic Prospects 2010, the bank said global economic recovery continues to advance "but Europe's debt crisis has created new hurdles on the road to sustainable medium term growth."

The report said after a growth of up to 3.3 percent this year and next, the GDP is expected to strengthen to between 3.2 percent and 3.5 percent in 2012, reversing the 2.1 percent decline in 2009.