"ANOTHER RECORD. We have already lost more American soldiers (488) in Iraq in 239 days of this year than we did in 287 days last year (482), when there was a war on and before our mission was accomplished.
The grind of the numbers is so relentless. Price of oil — pressing $50 a barrel. Poverty rate — increased again, third year in a row. Number of Americans without insurance — increased again, third year. Part of the “vibrant economy” Bush touts daily now. And the news from Iraq just keeps getting worse and worse.
Then, to liven things up, someone from Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith’s office is accused of passing classified information to the Israelis via the lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Be interesting to see whether Laurence A. Franklin, the alleged spy, gets as much publicity as Clinton’s former NSC adviser Sandy Berger did for allegedly taking notes on classified documents for his 9-11 Commission testimony. The Justice Department has announced no charges will be filed against Berger, and the matter is closed." 9:18:01 AM
New Ideas for Emerging Markets: Cellphone micropayments for the BOP: For cell phone operators, "mature markets [are] near saturation, and carriers must develop new strategies to reach low-earning customers. Carriers in emerging markets often find quick early success by catering to customers at the upper end of the local income scale, but at some point, they have to start looking a little lower down. While they'll still go all-out over those top-tier customers, operators must also figure out a way to remain profitable at the low ARPUs generated by low-income subscribers. ..
Smart Communications in the Phillipines and several other Asian carriers have proved, raising subscriber figures and revenues by letting users refill their prepaid accounts with electronic micropayments. Smart users used to have to buy refills of a minimum of 100 pesos (about $1.75), but the lower limit is now just 30 pesos. .. Now, users buy the smaller refills from one of Smart's 500,000 resellers across the country, who then updates the user's account with an SMS.
The smaller refill amounts, along with the negated need to print scratch-off refill vouchers, cut Smart's costs by 300 million pesos ($5.3 million) in its first six months and helped the company add a record number of subscribers in the second quarter. Indonesian carrier Indosat is also using the electronic micropayments, and says it will add more subscribers this year than it first estimated since the system helps attract new lower-income users." 12:12:20 AM