More than two thirds of the 177 countries (69%) in the 2013 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark and New Zealand tie for first place with scores of 91. Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia this year make up the worst performers, scoring just 8 points each.
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On a bitter cold winter January morning in 2008, Adam Friedman and Alvin Valentine, friends and co-workers, climbed into a Brooklyn boxing ring and proceeded to go after each other for three hard-hitting rounds. There was nothing particularly artful about what transpired in those grunting six minutes. Some solid blows were landed, there were no knock outs, and, thankfully, no blood. It was one fight of probably dozens that transpired that day. But for both men, the boxing match represented something very different. For Alvin, a Blood gang leader and longtime inmate, it was a chance to fight for something other than his life -- to fight for fun instead for respect, or to instill discipline in the yard or to send a message to a fellow inmate. For Adam, it was a chance to face down a monster that had tormented him since childhood -- fear. new york logo 01That both men would ever cross paths, let alone end up facing each other down in the squared circle, was unlikely. They came from as different backgrounds as New York City can offer, a distance much farther than the trip from the Upper West Side and Brownsville, Brooklyn that separated their apartments. The nerd and the hood, the poor kid and the middle class geek, the professional and the prisoner. But a shared passion -- to help convicts find their way back into society and prevent them from returning to prison -- brought them together. They met at Exodus Transitional Community, a grassroots organization with the goal of helping recently released inmates make their way back into mainstream society.
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Mexico's Knights Templar criminal organization is exerting control over the mining process for iron that supplies the Chinese market, offering another example of how the group has extended its reach into diverse sectors of the Mexican economy. Mexican authorities say local drug cartels, particularly the Knights Templar, are profiting from the country's lucrative mining sector, reported the Associated Press. The group now is involved in various aspects of the mining and export process for iron headed to Chinese factories from the group's home state of Michoacan. They allegedly obtain iron through extortion and robbery, as well as illegally extracting the metal themselves and selling it to export companies.
For people considering a move or looking to trim their budgets, the tool can be thought-provoking. For example, plug in your numbers to get a picture of your combined housing and transportation budget, then change the address. Would you save money by moving, or encounter hidden costs along the way?