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posted on 07 November 2015

Early Headlines: Bitcoin Ponzi?, Record Low BDI, More Egyptian Flights Canceled, Syrian Rebels Hold, Mideast Cholera And More

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Early Bird Headlines 07 November 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.



  • Bitcoin Rally: Digital Currency's Surge Driven By China, Speculators, The Blockchain (And Ponzi Schemers?) (International Business Times) Bitcoin is in the midst of a spectacular surge. Over the last month, the digital currency's price against the dollar has nearly doubled. On Wednesday, bitcoin climbed above $500 before settling back to $456 at 1:30 p.m, showing a 14 percent increase in a day. Analysts and brokers see a tangle of factors at play, from capital flight out of China to increased consumer confidence in bitcoin's underlying technology. At the same time, however, bitcoin enthusiasts are worried that some of the malfeasance that marked bitcoin's early days -- namely Ponzi schemes -- may be accelerating the rally.

  • It's Official: The Baltic Dry Index Has Crashed To Its Lowest November Level In History (Zero Hedge) Typically this time of year sees demand picking up amid holiday inventory stacking and measures of global trade such as The Baltic Dry Index rise from mid-summer to Thanksgiving. This year, it has not. The level of this index of global economic activity is at its lowest mid-November level ever, breaking below the previous lowest points in the recession years 2001 and 2008.



Much of the national debate about widening inequality focuses on whether and how much to tax the rich and redistribute their income downward.

But this debate ignores the upward redistributions going on every day, from the rest of us to the rich. These redistributions are hidden inside the market.

The only way to stop them is to prevent big corporations and Wall Street banks from rigging the market.

For example, Americans pay more for pharmaceuticals than do the citizens of any other developed nation.

That's partly because it's perfectly legal in the U.S. (but not in most other nations) for the makers of branded drugs to pay the makers of generic drugs to delay introducing cheaper unbranded equivalents, after patents on the brands have expired.

This costs you and me an estimated $3.5 billion a year - a hidden upward redistribution of our incomes to Pfizer, Merck, and other big proprietary drug companies, their executives, and major shareholders.

We also pay more for Internet service than do the inhabitants of any other developed nation.


  • Egypt halts EasyJet Sharm el-Sheikh "rescue flights" (City A.M.) More thyan 20,000 British tourists are stranded in the popular Egyptian holiday destination since the government imposed a ban on all flights following a crash at the weekend, which is now thought to have been caused by a bomb on the plane. When special flights were scheduled to "resue" tourists, the Egyptian government canceled them.



  • ISIS's 'Most Potent' Crew Is Now in Sinai - and Says It Bombed Russia's Jet (The Daily Beast) The terrorists claiming they took down Metrojet Flight 9268 aren't some run-of-the-mill jihadi crew but 'one of the most active and potent ISIS affiliates,' U.S. officials say. They may be following through on a recent threat that "that Russia, and by extension its citizens, would be a target" in retalliation for Russia's entry into the Syrian civil war in opposition to ISIS.


  • Despite Russian strikes, Syrian rebels hold ground (Associated Press) Despite a month of heavy battering by Russian airstrikes, Syria's rebels have so far been able to fend off offensives by government forces trying to retake territory from the rebel's heartland. The fierce fighting shows how even greater backing from Syrian President Bashar Assad's international allies is not swiftly tipping the conflict in his favor.


  • UN: Iraq's deadly cholera outbreak could spread regionally (Al Jazeera) Since mid-September, more than 2,200 people across Iraq have contracted cholera, a bacterial disease that if left untreated can kill its victims through dehydration and kidney failure. The disease has so-far killed six people in Iraq, but the UN says it is "showing signs of spreading into neighboring Syria, Kuwait and Bahrain, sparking fears that it could spiral into a regional epidemic".



  • China-Taiwan Summit: Ma Ying-Jeou Gambles His Party's Future As China, Taiwan Leaders Meet For First Time Since 1949 (International Business Times) The first summit ever Saturday between the leaders of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) represents a huge gamble for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou: Can Ma play the peacemaker and burnish the legacy of his Kuomintang (KMT) party, or will he be seen as caving in to Beijing's might? Ma and mainland counterpart Xi Jinping are meeting in Singapore, just weeks ahead of January's presidential and parliamentary elections on the island. The KMT, or Nationalist Party, is expected to take a beating from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.


  • Brazil dam burst: One dead in Samarco iron ore mine dam burst near Mariana (BBC News) Seismic activity preceded and may have caused two dams to collapse inundating five towns with water and muck residues from iron ore mining. See next article for more details.

  • Search ongoing for missing in Brazil mine disaster, death toll uncertain (Reuters) Rescue teams searched through mud and debris on Friday for people still missing from a village devastated by the collapse of two dams at a Brazilian mine owned by the world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton. While only one worker has been confirmed dead, the local governor said the mining disaster caused the most environmental damage of any in the state's history. Some reports say a dozen or more are feared to have died.

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