Hundreds of thousands of Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike.
Israel was challenged by the largest street demonstrations in its history.
Young people in Spain and Greece took over public squares across their countries. Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness.
From South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: Wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.
They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box. “Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship.
“We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless,” added Solanas.
Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.
Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in favor of a less hierarchical, more participatory system modeled in many ways on the Culture of the Web.
In that sense, the protest movements in democracies are not altogether unlike those that have rocked authoritarian governments this year, toppling longtime leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
Protesters have created their own political space online that is chilly, sometimes openly hostile, toward traditional institutions of the elite.
“You’re looking at a generation of 20- and 30-year-olds who are used to self-organizing,” said Yochai Benkler, a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. “They believe life can be more participatory, more decentralized, less dependent on the traditional models of organization, either in the state or the big company.
Those were the dominant ways of doing things in the industrial economy, and they aren’t anymore.”
The wife of Texas Governor Rick Perry defended her husband's immigration record during a stop meant to boost the presidential hopefuls’ campaign.
Anita Perry stumped for her husband at several stops in Iowa, where she characterized him as the best-suited candidate to match up against President Obama next fall and promised improved performances in the next GOP debate.
“Some have attacked Rick on this issue of immigration, so I want you to be armed with the facts,” Mrs. Perry said. “No one has done more to secure the border. And as President, he is committed to stopping the tide of illegal immigration,” she continued.
Mrs. Perry first noted that her husband vetoed a bill to give illegal immigrants driver licenses, fought illegal sanctuaries, and billed the government for incarcerating illegal aliens. She also said in-state tuition is only offered to residents who have gone to school in Texas for three years and have earned a high-school degree.
The First Lady of Texas was asked to clarify her comments on the latest debate, saying that her husband is not “polished” like some 2012 candidates.
She responded to reporters, saying, “Gov. Romney has been running for President for four or five years, and that was my husband’s third debate. I think [Perry] would tell you that the other night was not his best performance. But he is only going to get better.
“And I think part of the attacks had something to do with it. I think when you have seven arrows being shot at you – and you are the one person in the middle – a 30-second rebuttal doesn’t give you much time,” she added.
“He’s the most determined candidate that I know. And when the chips get down, he’s at his best, because he’s a fighter. And that’s why we’re in this race,” she said during a brief speech to a handful of supporters at the opening.
“When Rick sees so many people struggling, it breaks his heart – but steels his resolve. I think he is only one who can go toe to toe with Obama,” said Mrs. Perry.
After two days of energetically raising money in the precincts of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, President Barack Obama stopped at a high school to push for new ways to spend money.
Promoting his $450 billion jobs bill, Mr. Obama said the $25 billion in the legislation for repairing and renovating schools would allow Abraham Lincoln High School, a well-kept but aging institution, to update science laboratories of a 1960s vintage.
“My question to Congress is: What on earth are we waiting for? Let’s get to work,” Mr. Obama said to a boisterous crowd of students, he asked: “Why should our students be allowed to study in crumbling, outdated schools? How does that give them the sense that education is important?”
Neither Mr. Obama’s choice of Colorado, nor of this heavily Latino high school in a struggling part of Denver, were remotely accidental. He carried Colorado in 2008. Analysts believe he will need to hold on to it next year to put together a winning electoral map.
Mr. Obama accepted the Democratic nomination in the state and signed the $787 billion stimulus package. But with the jobless rate here rising to 8.5 percent from 7.4 percent since then, even Democrats here say Colorado could be an uphill battle. Mr. Obama repeatedly challenged Republicans to pass the jobs bill.
Amazon.com revealed plans to begin selling a color touchscreen tablet. Named the Kindle Fire, the device has a 7-inch touchscreen, weighs 14.6 ounces and is outfitted with a dual-core processor.
At $199, the Fire is less than half the price of the Apple iPad, which starts at $499. It is the first tablet from a major company to seriously undercut the iPad in price.
Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive who showed off the Fire on stage at a news conference, said it was meant to build on the popularity of the company’s e-readers and appeal to a broader audience that also wants to browse the Web and stream music, movies and video.
The device has access to Amazon’s library of 18 million e-books, songs and movies and television shows, and can run Android applications that have been approved by Amazon. There is also a newsstand for users who want to subscribe to magazines, with titles like Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour. “We’re building premium products at non-premium prices,” said Mr. Bezos. “We are determined to do that.”
Mr. Bezos also introduced a speedy custom-built mobile browser, called Amazon Silk, which he said was “cloud-accelerated,” combining Amazon’s computing cloud with the Kindle Fire device. “It’s truly a technical achievement,” he said. Amazon plans to begin taking preorders for the Fire on its Web site immediately, and they will start shipping Nov. 15. Mr. Bezos said the company was “making many millions of these.”
The Kindle Fire includes a free cloud-based storage system, meaning that no syncing with cables is necessary. Mr. Bezos seemed to take a swipe at Apple, saying, “That model that you are responsible for backing up your own content is a broken model.”
This first model of the Fire sends and receives data only over Wi-Fi, not cellular networks. Like the iPad’s screen, the screen on the Fire has so-called in-plane switching technology, meaning that unlike some LCD screens it can be viewed from a variety of angles, not just straight on.
Major health insurance companies have been charging sharply higher premiums this year, outstripping any growth in workers’ wages and creating more uncertainty for the Obama Administration and employers who are struggling to drive down an unrelenting rise in medical costs.
A study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research group, showed that the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011 — 9 percent higher than in the previous year.
And even higher premiums could be on the way, particularly in New York, where some companies are asking for double-digit increases for about 1.3 million New Yorkers in individual or small-group plans, setting up a battle with state regulators.
The higher premiums are particularly unwelcome at a time when the economy is sputtering and unemployment is hovering at about 9 percent. Many businesses cite the cost of coverage as a factor in their decision not to hire, and health insurance has become increasingly unaffordable for more Americans. The cost of family coverage has about doubled since 2001, compared with a 34 percent gain in wages.
How much the new federal health care legislation pushed by President Obama is affecting rates remains a point of debate, with some consumer advocates and others suggesting that insurers have raised prices in anticipation of new rules that would, in 2012, require them to justify any increase of more than 10 percent.
Kaiser estimates that one to two percentage points of the increase this year is related to provisions of the law already in effect, like coverage for children up to 26 years old and for prevention services like mammograms.