United States: Small business stimulus may help local entrepreneurs
The Obama administration made $15 billion available to jump-start small business lending. Some national lenders question whether the government's cash infusion comes with too many strings attached. Oregon's traditional banks have had generally positive reactions. Some report they're getting more inquiries than usual for SBA-backed loans. Mercy Corps Northwest lends to entrepreneurs who can't get funded by traditional sources. Loan officer Brian Fassett says it's still a tough lending market for small businesses.
Afghanistan: Exodus of unemployed a boon for Taliban
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN — Mohammed Hussain grows grapes and wheat on the farm in the Panjwai district that was passed down to him from his father and grandfather. But he no longer lives there. "We were waiting for the promised stability and security but it just didn't come," he said this week through an interpreter. Mr. Hussain, his wife and their eight children fled to Kandahar city about a year ago. They left their home, their vineyards, their cow and their chickens.
United States: High-tech in the service of humanity
When Mercy Corps opens its new headquarters next year in Old Town Chinatown, visitors will enter on Southwest Ankeny Street to find 3,500 square feet of technological wizardry aimed at engaging them in the fight against global poverty. At interactive kiosks, computer stations and on giant screens, they'll see videos that explain the plight of impoverished countries, along with up-to-date dispatches about how Mercy Corps and other humanitarian aid agencies are responding. Then visitors will be given a menu of steps they can take to help, in Portland and globally.