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posted on 13 December 2015

Early Headlines: Paris Climate Pact, Latest Bitcoin Inventor, US Stocks Look Up For 2016, UK Pound Strengthens, First Woman Elected In Saudi Arabia And More

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Early Bird Headlines 13 December 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.



  • Historic Paris climate pact reached - experts react (The Conversation) After two weeks of negotiations in Paris, the world's nations have reached a global deal to tackle climate change (read the text here). The agreement commits 196 countries to help limit global warming to "well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5℃". Twelve political, environmental and climate science experts present their opinions on what has and has not been accomplished.

  • Five things you need to know about the Paris climate deal (The Conversation) Global Change scientist at the University of Leeds says "the climate deal is at once both historic, important - and inadequate". Among the things he says will be needed are many policy changes with "fossil fuel companies must have their subsidies stripped" being foremost. He also says we must have public policies to put carbon "back in the ground". He also says tropical deforestation must be eliminated. See also Paris emissions cuts aren't enough - we'll have to put carbon back in the ground (Miles Allen, Geosystem Science, University of Oxford).

  • What if? (Aeon) What would history have been if Adolph Hitler's paintings had been accepted and he had become an artist rather than a politician? Or if he had died as child or in World War I? Is there any value in considering historical counterfactuals? Well it would certainly make for fascinating fictional writing. But many historians reject any other usefulness. See, for example 'What if' is a waste of time (The Guardian).

  • The Bizarre Saga of Craig Wright, the Latest "Inventor of the Bitcoin" (The New Yorker) The more journalists fail to identify who the presumably psuedonomous Satoshi Nakamoto is, the sweeter and more tempting the prize has become, like a burgeoning lottery jackpot. But past failures have led bitcoin watchers to become skeptical of such claims, and soon enough there were growing indications that key evidence linking Wright, an Australian information-security specialist, to Nakamoto was suspect.


  • Cruz Soars to Front of the Pack in Iowa Poll; Trump Support Stays Flat (Bloomberg) Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has surged ahead to become the latest front-runner in the campaign for the Iowa caucuses, dislodging Ben Carson and opening an impressive lead over a stalled Donald Trump, a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows.

  • Third Avenue junk fund blowup exposes risks of unsellable assets (Reuters) Lack of liquidity can be hell. That's what the highly regarded THird Avenue Funds family found when they decided to close their junk bond fund, Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund, because of loss of share value and investor withdrawals. At least one-fifth of the fund, with less than $1 billion under management, was composed of illiquid assets, meaning they trade so infrequently that they don't have a market price, according to a Reuters analysis. That's one of the highest percentages of exposure in the junk bond sector. Investors will have to wait for an unspecified time to receive their share of the fund's assets because Third Avenue is establishing a trust to sell assets over an extended time period to avoid selling at fire sale prices.

  • U.S. Stocks Seen Rising Next Year in Barron's 'Outlook' Survey (Bloomberg) U.S. stocks will rise about 10% next year from Friday's close, led by gains in banks and technology companies as the market recovers from its August rout, Wall Street strategists told Barron's. Econintersect: Hope springs eternal. See also Jeff Miller in GEI Investing who also thinks stocks will go up: The Week Ahead: Waiting For Santa Claus (Rally?).


  • David Cameron to curb migration from EU by targeting jobless (The Guardian) David Cameron is ready to consider a "plan B" to curb EU migration to the UK, which would involve strict new limits on benefit payments to out-of-work migrants rather than those in jobs.

  • Pound's Prospects Look Better Than Fed Week Would Normally Imply (Bloomberg) The pound is shaping up to approach the year-end on a positive note versus the dollar, even with the Federal Reserve set to raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade. A string of reports are due to show an improvement in the U.K. economy next week with, crucially, inflation set to turn positive, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.


  • France elections: National Front seeks second round breakthrough (BBC News) France is holding the second round of regional elections in which the far-right National Front (FN) is seeking to consolidate its gains from a week ago. Marine Le Pen's FN is leading in six of 13 regions in mainland France. But opinion polls indicate that the center-right Republican opposition of Nicolas Sarkozy has gained ground since then. The Republicans pushed the ruling Socialists into third place in the first round.


  • Thousands march against Polish government as constitutional spat drags on (Reuters) Tens of thousands marched through Warsaw on Saturday to protest against what they called the "democratorship" of the month-old conservative government, as Poland remained locked in a constitutional crisis. The constitutional clash began when the eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party, which scored a landmark election win in October, appointed five out of 15 judges to the highest judicial body, in a move the opposition described as illegal. PiS denies the charge. It said judges in the constitutional court need to be replaced to ensure the balance of power in the body, and that it was the previous government that broke the law when they made the original appointments.

Saudi Arabia

  • Woman wins seat in Saudi election (The Guardian) Officials say Salma bint Hizab al-Oteibi has been elected to Mecca council, with votes still being counted in first ever poll open to female voters and candidates. She was running against seven men and two other women.


  • China navy carries out more drills in disputed South China Sea (Reuters) China's navy has in recent days carried out more exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday, calling them routine drills. China claims almost all of the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of maritime trade passes each year. The Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and Taiwan have overlapping claims. China periodically announces such exercises in the South China Sea, as it tries to demonstrate it is being transparent about its military deployments.

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