Blueberry knocks peach off Ga. pie
What is the most valuable fruit crop produced in the Peach State?
This is not a trick question, but you may want to pause a second before answering.
Ready? It’s the blueberry.
Georgia is famous as a major producer of the peach, the fuzzy, succulent, orange fruit whose image appears on state license plates, “Welcome to Georgia” billboards and on road signs. When driving in the capital city of Atlanta, you can pass the corner of Peachtree Street and Peachtree Center Avenue, just one block from West Peachtree Street.
There’s just one problem: Blueberries are Georgia’s most lucrative fruit crop, by far.
In a little-noticed development, the value of blueberry production in Georgia beat the peach crop in 2005 — and the gap has grown even bigger since then, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys.
Blueberries generated an estimated $94 million for Georgia growers in 2012, meaning the blueberry crop was more than three times as valuable as the nearly $30 million peach crop.
US Treasury chief in Greece for talks
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged Greece on Sunday to continue its efforts to stabilize its debt-ridden economy and capitalize on the sacrifices already made “to ensure prosperity and growth for generations to come.”
Lew was on a one-day visit to Greece after attending a Group of 20 summit in Russia.
In an hourlong meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Lew discussed Greece’s austerity program, its long-term prospects and the visits the so-called troika of Greece’s creditors — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — have made to Greece, said Dimitris Kanellisa, a Finance Ministry spokesman.
Later, Lew met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at an unusual setting, the Acropolis Museum, not the Greek leader’s office.
Samaras is due to meet President Barack Obama in Washington next month.
Japan’s ruling bloc wins elections
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition won a comfortable majority in the upper house of parliament in elections Sunday, giving it control of both chambers and a mandate to press ahead with difficult economic reforms.
The win is an endorsement of the Liberal Democratic Party’s “Abenomics” program, which has helped spark a tentative economic recovery in Japan. It’s also a vindication for Abe, who lost upper-house elections in 2007 during his previous stint as prime minister.
The victory offers the hawkish Abe more leeway to advance his conservative policy goals, including revising the country’s pacifist constitution and bolstering Japan’s military, which could further strain ties with key neighbors China and South Korea, who are embroiled in territorial disputes with Japan.