Wednesday, October 2, 2013

US Government Shutdown

Non-Americans will be puzzled by this development and maybe, they don’t even care. But at midnight on Tuesday, the US government – for the first time in 17 years – has shut down – at least partially – after the two houses of Congress, i.e. the Democrat-led Senate and the Republican led-House failed to reach an agreement over how to fund the country.

The shutdown means all "non-essential staff" – about 800,000 of the total 2.1 million-strong federal workforce – will stay home in a temporary leave of absence known as a 'furlough'. Operations deemed non-essential are to cease. International icons like the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, the Smithsonian Institution, Yellowstone and Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, home of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, will be off limits.

It is not the first time this has happened. The government shut down for 21 days under President Bill Clinton in mid-December 1995, after he faced off with the Republican-controlled Congress.

The stock market of course, dropped amid news of the shutdown, though analysts suggested significant damage to the national economy was unlikely unless it lasted more than a few days.

Investors are also keeping themselves braced for an even bigger meltdown on October 17, when the government will face its deadline on the national debt ceiling.

Yesterday, I was at Level 6 of Block 3A, Plaza Sentral in KL Sentral for the Allianz Toastmasters meeting. I was the General Evaluator as well as the Evaluator for one of their members, Haw Hui Mun who completed her CC manual when she delivered her CC speech #10 titled ‘Ace It”. It was a good meeting and even punctuality was observed. This club is showing good promise and I trust it will grow from strength to strength. I would give this meeting a score of a 7 over 10.

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