DINNER PARTY INTEL: Plain but pricey vanilla
Uncertainty over the security of supply of vanilla is hitting ice-cream makers the world over
1. Baby-boomer guilt
Every Briton should receive £10,000 when they turn 25 to help fix the "broken" contract between millennials and baby boomers, a think-tank proposes. The Resolution Foundation says the payment would be a kind of "citizen’s inheritance" intended to redistribute wealth at a time when young people are struggling to find housing, educate themselves or start businesses.
The foundation claims the money will reduce resentment towards people born between 1946 and 1965 who have done better out of the housing market and pensions than later generations.
2. Plain but pricey
Uncertainty over the security of supply of vanilla is hitting ice-cream makers the world over. Vanilla prices have soared to a record of US$600/kg, about 10 times the price of a few years ago. A cyclone hit Madagascar — the world’s top grower — last year, damaging crops and sending prices higher. The world’s other large producers are Papua New Guinea, India and Uganda.
Vanilla is also used in chocolate, alcohol, cosmetics and perfumes. The price increase has been enough to force some cake and ice-cream makers and other users to switch to synthetic flavours made from wood and sometimes even petroleum.
3. Hard time, but precious
An illegal diamond mine has been discovered operating beneath a prison in Osia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, London’s Metro newspaper reports. Prisoners provide the mine with labour — though prison officers and local residents are also involved — and the newspaper says some choose not to leave when their sentence ends.
Authorities said miners testified that they had found and sold diamonds of between 0.5ct and 0.65ct. They have ordered that the makeshift mine be closed.