Early Headlines: Syria Chemical Weapons, South China Sea Land Grab, Medicaid Big Spenders, Latest Nepal News and More

May 9th, 2015
in News, econ_news, syndication

Early Bird Headlines 09 May 2015

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.


Follow up:


  • Good enough to fight for the US but missing the mark for citizenship (Al Jazeera)  Military naturalization has gotten easier in recent years, but some service members still fall through the cracks.  There is a classification "poor moral character" which is the most common reason that the 10% of military non-citizens denied have their applications refused.  In some cases the charcterization is valid (murder, rape or other felony) but in many cases it is not a correct classification. 
  • Snowpack problems: Interactive map shows dismal US snow levels (CNBC)  April and May are the months when the water supply for much of the western U.S. drains from the high elevation snowpacks.  This year there was no snowpack left in most areas before the end of April.  It was one of the lowest snowfalls on record in the winter of 2014-15.  Some western ski areas never opened.  Complicating the situation was a warmer than average March which decimated the meager snow cover that did exist.
  • Medicaid: A few people cost a whole bunch of money (CNBC)  Only 5% of those on Medicaid get 48% of the medical treatment.  About 1/4 of those on Medicaid spend 80% of the money and half of the people get less than 8% of the benefits.  Econintersect:  This is the general type of profile for insurance coverage.  Insurance only works well when many pay small premiums to protect against a very large but low probability loss.  If one buys insurance to pay for a high probability event then that policy can only be offered by a for-profit company if the expected cost is covered, plus the administrative costs of issuing the policy and administering the benefits plus the profit for the insurance company.  In such cases not having insurance and paying the costs directly out of income is cheaper.




  • China 'expanding island building' in South China Sea (BBC News) The US says that China has expanded its program of land reclamation in the South China Sea.  US officials (report) say China has reclaimed 2,000 acres since the beginning of 2014 in the Spratley Islands, which are mostly within the 200-mile international limit off the coasts of Indonesia and Pilippines.  China claims that its territorial waters extend into the 200-mile limit of it's neighbors, out as far as 800 miles from its own shores and almost lapping at the low-tide boundary of Indonesian and Philippine beaches.




  • Himalayan 'drop after Nepal quake' (BBC News)  The height of a swathe of the Himalayas known as the Langtang range, has dropped by around one meter as a result of the devastating Nepal earthquake, scientists say.  But the geologic uplift in the region will recover that amount over the next 100-200 years.  The change in elevation of Mt. Everest, further to the east, has not been determined but will likely be much less impacted, if changed at all.  The Langtang range is one of the mountainous areas where there is still no information about remote villages and many trekkers in the area at the height of the trekking season.  Most of this unknown number are presumed dead.
  • 1m Nepali kids may not return to school: Unicef (Kantipur.com)  Nearly a million Nepalese children will not be returning to school next week as scheduled.  In some areas 80% to 90% of school facilities have been destroyed and temporary replacement space is not generally available.
  • Nepal earthquake: government to investigate profiteering (The Guardian)  The injured are being forced to pay for hospital treatment despite the government's no-fee order. Price hikes are reported for vital medical supplies, water and food.
  • Nepal earthquake death toll rises to 8,413 (The Times of India)  This is the official report two days ago (07 May).  A Red Cross report puts the number injured at more than 17,500 and missing at 246.  However, all these numbers are for the population centers in the Kathmandu Valley.  There is no information on many thousands of people living in remote mountain regions and hundreds of trekkers and mountaineers in the mountains during the height of the trekking and climbing season.


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