Sponsored by Congregazione di Maria SS Lauretana di Altavilla Milicia.

The feast is moving this year to a new location in Niles on Church Street, between Greenwood and Cumberland, on the south side of the Golf Mill Shopping Center.

Festivities culminate on Sept. 6 with a candlelight procession at 9 a.m. and Mass at 10:30 a.m., followed by processions with the Sicilian Band of Chicago leading up to the traditional Flight of the Angels at 5 and 8 p.m. A street festival with live entertainment will run from Sept. 4 to 7, a Novena will run from Aug. 27 at the society’s chapel in Chicago, with the final day of the novena being celebrated on Sept. 4 at the feast.



Sponsored by Congregazione di Maria SS Lauretana di Altavilla Milicia.

The feast is moving this year to a new location in Niles on Church Street, between Greenwood and Cumberland, on the south side of the Golf Mill Shopping Center.

Festivities culminate on Sept. 6 with a candlelight procession at 9 a.m. and Mass at 10:30 a.m., followed by processions with the Sicilian Band of Chicago leading up to the traditional Flight of the Angels at 5 and 8 p.m. A street festival with live entertainment will run from Sept. 4 to 7, a Novena will run from Aug. 27 at the society’s chapel in Chicago, with the final day of the novena being celebrated on Sept. 4 at the feast.

The big launch of the BRICS bank is seen as a first step to break the dominance of the US dollar in global trade, as well as dollar-backed institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, both US-based institutions BRICS countries have little influence within.

“In terms of escalating international competition the task of activating the trade and investment cooperation between BRICS member states becomes important,” Putin said.

Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa account for 11 percent of global capital investment, and trade turnover almost doubled in the last 5 years, the president reminded.

Each BRICS member is expected to put an equal share into establishing the startup capital of $50 billion with a goal to reach $100 billion. The BRICS bank will be headquartered inShanghai, India will preside as president the first year, and Russia will be the chairman of the representatives. Each country will send either their finance minister or Central Bank chair to the bank’s representative board.

BRICS represents 42 percent of the world’s population and roughly 20 percent of the world’s economy based on GDP, and 30 percent of the world’s GDP based on PPP, a more accurate reading of the real economy. Total trade between the countries is $6.14 trillion, or nearly 17 percent of the world’s total.

The $100 billion crisis lending fund, called the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), was also established. China will contribute the lion’s share, about $41 billion, Russia, Brazil and India will chip in $18 billion, and South Africa, the newest member of the economic bloc, will contribute $5 billion.

The idea is that the creation of the bank will lessen dependence on the West and create a more multi-polar world, at least financially.

“This mechanism creates the foundation for an effective protection of our national economies from a crisis in financial markets,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The group has already created the BRICS Stock Alliance an initiative to cross list derivatives to smooth the path for international investors interested in emerging markets.

Russia has also proposed the countries come together under an energy alliance that will include a fuel reserve, as well as an institute for energy policy

“We propose the establishment of the Energy Association of BRICS. Under this ‘umbrella’, a Fuel Reserve Bank and BRICS Energy Policy Institute could be set up,” Putin said.

Documents on cooperation between BRICS export credit agencies and an agreement of cooperation on innovation were also inked.

Bringing emerging economies closer has become vital at a time when the world is guttered by the financial crisis and BRICS countries can’t remain above international problems, said Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

She cautioned the world not to see BRICS deals as a desire to dominate.

“We want justice and equal rights,” she said.

“The IMF should urgently revise distribution of voting rights to reflect the importance of emerging economies globally,” Rousseff said.

(L to R) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President DilmaRousseff, China’s President Xi Jinping and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma join their hands during the official photograph of the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, on July 15, 2014 (AFP Photo)

The group of emerging economies signed the long-anticipated document to create the $100 bn BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 bn. Both will counter the influence of Western-based lending institutions and the dollar.

The new bank will provide money for infrastructure and development projects in BRICS countries, and unlike the IMF or World Bank, each nation has equal say, regardless of GDP size.

“BRICS Bank will be one of the major multilateral development finance institutions in this world,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil.

3 ways America should be more like Canada

The Daily Ticker

Wed, May 14, 2014, by Rick Newman

Its middle class is thriving, its people are universally liked and its government actually works.

Fifty years ago, this description might have fit the United States. But not now America’s middle class is shrinking and its global reputation is spotty. Congress, meanwhile, creates more problems than it solves.

So for guidance on how to fix America, why not look north to Canada, where the mood is upbeat and life appears to be getting demonstrably better? The New York Times recently reported the Canadian middle class is now the world’s richest, surpassing the U.S. for the first time. In the 2014 “better life index” recently published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada outscored the United States in 9 of 11 categories, including education, safety and overall life satisfaction.

The poverty rate is lower in Canada, and every Canadian citizen has government-provided health insurance, which might explain why Canadians enjoy longer life expectancy than Americans and are considerably less obese. As for the government, Canada’s national debt amounts to about $18,000 per person, compared with $55,000 in America.

So what is Canada doing right?

It has a more stable banking system. Canada has virtually never experienced a financial crisis, and there were no bailouts north of the border in 2008 when the U.S. government committed $245 billion to save dozens of U.S. banks. The differences between the two countries are somewhat accidental. In the United States, distrust of a strong central government all the way back in the founders’ days led to a system of state-chartered banks vulnerable to political meddling, and therefore riskier than the big, nationally chartered financial institutions that operate in Canada.

“In the United States, instability was permitted by regulators because it served powerful political interests,” Prof. Charles Calomiris of Columbia University wrote in a 2013 paper for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “In Canada, the banking system was not used as a means of channeling subsidized credit to a favored political constituency, so there was no need to tolerate instability.” The legacy of that today is a malleable U.S. banking system that, among other things, was deregulated in the late 1990s at the behest of banks themselves — which contributed to the 2008 collapse.

The financial crisis and the abuses that led to it are still holding back the U.S. economy. Shoddy lending standards were a major cause of the housing bust, which has whacked $3 trillion off the value of Americans’ real-estate assets — even with the year-long recovery in the housing market. That’s a huge loss of wealth that continues to hold back U.S. spending. And it’s just part of a 25-year debt binge Americans are still working off. With far fewer lending excesses, Canada didn’t really have a housing bust or a credit crisis to recover from.

Money doesn’t dominate politics. Canada has much stricter rules governing campaign contributions than those in America, where campaign-finance laws are getting weaker on account of recent Supreme Court rulings striking down limits on spending. Tougher limits in Canada give people and businesses with money to spend less influence over laws and regulations. “Every single one of my voters thinks that is terrific,” says former journalist ChrystiaFreeland, now a Canadian member of parliament, representing a district in Toronto. “There is a lot less influence of the really wealthy and single-issue interest groups. A regular person has a much bigger voice.”

Many members of the U.S. Congress report spending half their time, or more, raising money for reelection efforts rather than legislating. Freeland estimates she spends less than 5% of her time doing that. There’s virtually no chance the United States will ever adopt a Canadian-style parliamentary system, but Congress could pass new laws or amend the Constitution in order to limit the corrupting influence of Big Money in politics. Were that to happen, however, it would probably make incumbent politicians more vulnerable to challengers. Maybe next century.

There’s less hostility toward immigrants. Canada, like the United States, has limits on the number of foreigners it allows into the country to work. But the whole issue of immigration is far less politicized, and there’s a broad understanding that skilled foreign workers help the economy. Canada actually recruits immigrants, part of a deliberate effort to attract talented foreigners most likely to contribute to economic growth. In the United States, the quota for skilled immigrants is far below the number U.S. firms would hire if they could get them. Despite appeals from many businesses, Congress is paralyzed on reforms that would let more skilled immigrants in, partly because that issue gets conflated with separate reforms aimed at stemming the flow of unskilled illegals.

Canada has its own problems, needless to say. Its government-run healthcare system draws complaints of long wait times for care and trailing-edge medical technology. Some economists think a housing bubble may be forming, for instance, and trends such as rising income inequality affect Canada just as they do every other industrialized country. Plus, it’s cold.

In the Land of Moderation, however, such challenges seem manageable. “We’re less anxious because we didn’t have the financial crisis,” says Freeland, “but Canadians should guard against smugness.” Now there’s something you’re unlikely to hear an American politician say.

— Siemond Chan contributed to this article.

ILLINOIS Budget + Tax Policy

August 19, 2013

When people don’t like the direction in which their state is headed, they often vote with their feet. That’s precisely what Illinoisans did during the last decade, and they took their income with them.

Illinois netted a loss of more $20 billion to other states through the out-migration of its residents from 2000-2010, according to the Tax Foundation’s most recent State Migration Calculator. Only California ($29.4 billion) and New York ($45.6 billion) lost more income.

The Tax Foundation reports that “when a person moves to a new state, their income is added to the total of all other incomes in that state. This positively affects the total taxable income in his or her new state, and negatively affects the income in the state he or she left.”

The Tax Foundation’s national map shows the winners and losers of interstate migration.

The nine states with no personal income tax gained $113.25 billion in adjusted gross income between 2000 and 2010; the nine states with the highest personal income tax rates lost $90.05 billion over the same period.

Florida was the biggest winner, adding $67.3 billion in income. Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Nevada rounded out the top five.

New Jersey and Ohio joined New York, California and Illinois as the largest losers of income.

The Tax Foundation’s findings come at a time when Illinois can’t afford to lose more people and see its tax revenue base diminished even further. The state has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and more than $6 billion in unpaid bills.

Unfortunately, Illinois’ outmigration and income losses will only get worse once newer migration data is captured. Illinois passed a record tax hike in 2011 that raised the personal income tax by 67% and corporate income taxes by 47%.

And now Democrats are proposing a new progressive tax increase that calls for raising billions more in tax revenues. That will only chase away even more of Illinois’ most productive residents.

Rather than increase tax rates, Springfield legislators would do better to emulate what the states with the most in-migration are doing – lower taxes, less regulation and less government spending.

Top 13 “Big Dog” Village Manager Salaries- IL

 Sunday May 13, 2012

Our “Big Dog” Report on highly compensated Village Manager’s has received much interest, here is a ranking of the Top 13.

Last year, Palatine was at $255,283 and he took a 22% pay cut to $200,379.  Therefore, he went from one of the top to thirteenth place.  Skokie was one of the top and went from $269,170 to $230,531- but, ten years ago he was making $124,579.  The Mayor of Chicago makes $216,200.


1.      47 Village Managers Out-earn Every Governor of the 50 States:

See the Top 10 Village Manager Salaries in Illinois. The highest paid is a village manager of small Grayslake at $251,152. Review last years report,

2.      Identifying ‘Legal Corruptions’:

Occupying our state pension systems are private employers like Illinois Association of Park Districts (PeterMurphy, $322,444), and Park District Risk Management Association (Brett Davis, $297,901). Taxpayers have no control over the salaries, but pay for the pensions. Murphy received a 2012 salary spike of $40,000, and Davis has tripled his pay in ten years.

3.      The Nerds that Glitter:

The school district treasurer of Bloom Township made $213,301 and the treasurer of Thornton Township made $200,489 while he also runs his own certified public accounting firm- Eugene Varnado LLC.

In 2012, school treasurer Mohsin Dada double-dipped pension systems for over $440,000: a current salary of $203,903 and a retirement pension of $240,000. His pension is so high because of a massive salary spike from $156,160 to $358,750. Checkout his ‘ego’ website.

4.      Managing Small Park Districts… is Fun:

In 2012, local park district administrators are out-earning the State Director of Parks: Mount Prospect $215,626 ($105,000 in 2000); $212,572 ($74,999 in 2001) in Addison.

Other Highly Compensated Bureaucrats include:

Thomas A. Morris- the General Counsel of Waukegan School Dist 60 who pocketed $229,655 while also practicing law since 1996 for downtown Chicago law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP.

Dennis Gianopolus- extracted nearly $260,000 while simultaneously working as the General Counsel of Calumet City, serving as a prosecutor for Chicago Heights, and running his own law firm.

William Volk manages the Champaign County Mass Transit for $286,734 ($216,500 in 2010)- nearly a triple in eleven years.

The Premier Romano Prodi\’s sale of Alitalia to the French in favour of an operation that cost more than €3 billion of public money (2008).

Air France Manoeuvres and Alitalia’s Future as Regional Airline

Doubts of Air France partner KLM.



Source: Corriere della Sera, by Antonella Baccaro, English translation by Giles Watson


ROME – The future of Alitalia is in the balance today at a meeting of the Air France-KLM board, when the majority shareholder could opt to increase its 25% holding in the Italian airline. Sources deny the issue is on the table and it will not be easy to discover the actual intentions of the French, just a month before the end of the lock-up period during which the partners are obliged to sell holdings only to each other.


For now, it’s all a matter of tactics. Silence has descended on the feelers Alitalia put out through Rothschild to Etihad to see if there was any interest in acquiring a holding. The United Arab Emirates-based company has excellent relations with Paris and could well flank Air France-KLM but any expression of interest would enable Alitalia to raise the asking price with the French, with whom Etihad would be in direct competition. For similar reasons, rumours of interest from Aeroflot are unlikely to up Alitalia’s price ticket. The Russian carrier is part of the Skyteamgroup, led by Air France-KLM.


Whichever way you look at it, the French call the tune, albeit with some serious doubts. These regard not so much the benefits of acquiring Alitalia, whose market the French cannot hand over to Lufthansa or British Airways, as the costs that such an operation would entail. The Dutch are understood to be blowing cool on the move, likely because they remember the snub they received in 1998 when they came within an ace of acquiring the Italian carrier. Yet there is more to this than pride: Air France-KLM has just announced a new round of 2,800 voluntary redundancies, reductions in mid-range flights, withdrawal from the B747 programme and the postponement of break-even until 2014.


Significantly, the French press reported a few days ago that any doubling of the Alitalia shareholding would come with stiff conditions: no assumption of debt; capital to be injected only after the Italian partners have done so first; and a free hand with planning for the airline. The deal could involve a capital increase with Air France-KLM underwriting its own quota and also, either alone or with Etihad, taking up the unoptioned portion. If the cost came to €200 million, Air France-KLM would have to fork out €50 million for its quota and up to twice that figure to acquire control, while staying below 50% so as not to consolidate Alitalia’s debts. On the financial front, the condition could be to make the capital increase only when the banks have agreed to release a further €200 million in finance to Alitalia. These figures are the minimum required for Alitalia to stay afloat.


Strategically, strengthening Air France-KLM’s shareholding would torpedo the part of CEO Gabriele Del Torchio’sproject that aims to expand intercontinental services and brings Alitalia back to the original recovery plan to make the company a regional carrier. Alitalia partners are mainly concerned about recouping the investment made in 2008. It is unlikely that politics can change the course of events this time, even though developments will unfold in an unrelentingly pre-electoral atmosphere. Evidence of this came yesterday in a surprise statement by Renato Brunetta. The People of Freedom (PDL) group leader tackled the media impact of a possible sale to the French, against whom in 2008 Silvio Berlusconi organised a band of “captains courageous” of Italian industry. Mr Brunetta played down the incident: “If Italian capitalism was unable [to save Alitalia – Ed.], I think there should be another transfusion of blood”. Former transport minister Altero Matteoli took a different tack: “Alitalia needs to be recapitalised. Air France-KLM is very welcome if this helps to recapitalise the Italian carrier. They should certainly not exceed 50% so an act of courage is required from the Italian partners”.