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.
A Militia Has Taken Over A Federal Building In Oregon (The Huffington Post) A peaceful protest Saturday in support of an eastern Oregon ranching family facing jail time for arson was followed shortly afterward by an occupation of a building at a national wildlife refuge. The arson involved burning land for the purpose of controlling weeds and invasive plants and to reduce wildfire risks for their property according to Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven who plan to report Monday to serve additional prison time. They had previously served time since deemed too little for the offense. The seizure of the federal building appears not to involve any of the demonstrators. Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a standoff with the government over grazing rights, told The Oregonian he and two of his brothers were among a group of dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Winter Storm Goliath kills thousands of area dairy cows (News Channel 10) Dairy farmers across the Panhandle and eastern New Mexico lost an estimated 35,000 dairy cows during Winter Storm Goliath, according to the Texas Association of Dairymen. That loss, as well as the storm's effect on living livestock, is expected to reduce Texas's milk supply for up to a year.
EPA Probes Porter Ranch Natural Gas Leak (abc News) The Environmental Protection Agency says it is now investigating a massive ongoing natural gas leak in Los Angeles' Porter Ranch neighborhood that's being called one of the worst environmental disasters in years. More than two months after the leak started, methane gas continues to escape from an underground pipe at Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon facility. SoCal Gas acknowledged early in December that a leak had been detected at a natural gas storage well on Oct. 23, but said "experts agree that natural gas is not toxic." Thousands of residents, however, said the gas smell -- stemming from an odorous additive called mercaptan used to signal a leak -- made them feel sick, bringing on headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Zone euro : la BCE osera-t-elle monter dans l'hélicoptère? (La Tribune) (In French) This article discusses why a helicopter drop in the streets (QE for the people - QEP) would be a viable way to get the EU economy moving. But the conclusion is that it won't happen (translation by Econintersect):
The problem is that the EIB and the European authorities are not ready to accept this method. The current President of the EIB, the former Secretary of State Wolfgang Schäuble and member of the liberal FDP, Werner Hoyer, has set a goal to keep the notation "triple A" of the government institution as a policy " prudent", little compatible with "QEP". This political deadlock is actually the main vector of the "impossibility" of which Patrick Artus speaks. The opposition to this method could come from the obsession of German economic circles about inflation. Immediately the "QEP" raised the specter of Weimar reborn. This time, the fear of the ECB could not be such a "casus belli" causing the output of the Eurozone [to come from] Germany.
While Mario Draghi has managed around the difficulty several times, including reliance on market pressures. But this time, markets and banks are naturally hostile to one that bypasses the EQ. One final stumbling block and not least, despite the QE, the ECB retains imprint of Ricardian thought. In his speech in Bologna, Mario Draghi stressed "reforms" and deleveraging as the engine of growth in the eurozone. Ideologically, Frankfurt does not yet seem ready to jump into the helicopter, although the economic survival of the euro zone depends on it. So we will stay with the methods that are not working.
The Chancellor's failure to use fiscal policy in tandem with monetary policy means that the timid and short-sighted private sector has lacked confidence to ratchet up investment in productive, income-generating activity - as opposed to speculative activity. This low private and public investment is causal of lower productivity levels, as Geoff Tily has argued. Wage levels in real terms are still over 7% below levels in 2007, and this has led to rises in individual and household borrowing to compensate. The result is the slowest economic recovery in this nation's history.
Low public borrowing costs provided the ideal environment for increased public investment in, for example, the transformation of the economy away from fossil fuels, and towards more sustainable energy sources.
Iranian protesters damage Saudi embassy in Tehran (Associated Press) Protesters in Iran, angered by the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday, setting fires and throwing papers from the roof, Iranian media reported. The semiofficial ISNA news agency said the country's top police official, Gen. Hossein Sajedinia, rushed to the scene and police worked to disperse the crowd outraged by the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Shiite leaders in Iran and elsewhere across the Middle East swiftly condemned Riyadh and warned of a sectarian backlash. See also US warns Saudi execution of Shia cleric Nimr could fuel tensions (BBC News)
Unique Indian geological feature may mitigate climate change (The Economic Times) India is blessed with an extraordinary geological feature that may provide a natural solution to the problem of climate change, according to some geologists. India has indeed an additional option, some geologists believe. This consists of capturing the CO2 coming out of coal-fired power plants and injecting it below the Deccan Traps for permanent storage. Deccan Traps - a thick pile of solidified lava from volcanic eruptions 65 million years ago - occupies about a third of peninsular India and is the world's largest continental flood-basalt province outside Siberia. The trap cover varies in thickness from a few hundred to a few thousand metres and, below this, lie thick sedimentary rocks. The idea is to pump the CO2 through the porous sedimentary rocks and use the basalt layer above as a "cap" to stop the gas escaping.
India's smog-shrouded capital pulls cars off roads (Hurriyet Daily News) More than a million private cars were banned from New Delhi's roads on Jan. 1, as authorities began testing drastic new measures to cut smog in the world's most polluted capital. For 15 days from Jan. 1, private cars will only be allowed on the city's roads every other day to try to reduce pollutant levels, which regularly hit 10 times the World Health Organization's safe limits. Cars with odd-numbered license plates will be allowed on the roads on odd-numbered dates, and those with even-numbered plates on the other days.
China's manufacturing sector contracted for a 5th month in December (Business Insider) Activity in China's manufacturing sector contracted for a fifth straight month in December, an official PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) survey showed on Friday, reinforcing fears the world's second-largest economy may be stuck in a protracted slowdown despite a flurry of stimulus measures. While China's services sector ended 2015 on a strong note, the economy still looked set to grow at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century, suggesting the government will have to step up support in 2016 to revive activity.
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