Need to know:
In less than 10 years China's middle class will outnumber the entire US population.
At the moment, 247 million Chinese people, about 18 percent of the country's population, is considered middle class. That figure is expected to jump to 607 million by 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Middle class Chinese households spend between $10 and $100 a day on average. By 2020, their spending is expected to rival that of the US consumers.
Want to know:
Texan R. Allen Stanford has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for masterminding a $7 billion Ponzi scheme. Of course, he's taking a Bart Simpson-like approach to the situation and maintains he didn't do it.
Stanford claims the government is responsible for triggering the losses suffered by his investors around the world. At his sentencing on Thursday he said he was the victim of government "Gestapo tactics," the New York Times said. A prosecutor put it differently, saying “From beginning to end, he treated all of his victims as roadkill.”
Those victims though won't get much relief from Stanford's sentencing. They have yet to recover any of the money they had invested in CDs at Stanford's Caribbean banks, and even if they do receive financial compensation it likely won't be much.
Investors stand to share an estimated $70 million maximum on claims of $5 billion in losses, the Houston Chronicle said. For many of those investors, any hope they had for their futures has faded. As the Chronicle's Loren Steffy said:
They have grown used to people turning their backs as they have struggled during the past three years to recover from Stanford's crimes. Many face financial ruin, shattered retirements, or the loss of medical treatments they can no longer afford.
Dull but important:
Another day, another downgrade in Europe (again).
Dutch banks are among the latest to taking a ratings hit as the euro zone crisis grinds on. Moody's Investors Services on Thursday downgraded five Dutch banking groups, saying a recession and falling real estate prices in the Netherlands pose a risk to their balance sheets.
Moody's also downgraded three French banking groups, one Belgian banking group and a bank in Luxemburg.
Also Thursday, Egan-Jones downgraded France's credit rating, saying the worst of the euro crisis may be yet to come for the nation's banks.
Coca-Cola can't wait to get back to Myanmar.