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.
Saudi Arabia, Iran tensions over Shiite execution boost oil futures (CNBC) Escalating tensions between major oil producer Saudi Arabia and Iran sent oil prices sharply higher in the first trading day of 2016 on the prospect of supply disruption. Benchmark U.S. WTI light sweet crude was up 1.9% at $37.76 a barrel early afternoon in Asia, after jumping as much as 3.4% from the last day of trade in 2015, while Brent crude was up 2.3% at $38.12 a barrel after spiking 2.4% over the same period.
Asia shares, currencies tumble; oil jumps at start of 2016 (Reuters) Asian shares and currencies tumbled on Monday on the first day of trading in 2016 after China factory activity contracted and its central bank guided the yuan lower, while oil prices jumped as much as 3% on rising tensions in the Middle East. See article above. European shares are also seen opening lower, with financial spreadbetters expecting Germany's DAX .GDAXI to fall 1.5%, France's CAC 40 .FCHI 0.7% and Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE 0.6%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 2.5%, on course to post its biggest loss since Aug. 24 last year. Details on Chinese stock under China, later below.
2015: the year in elections (The Conversation) It's been a dramatic year in elections around the world: old leaders were toppled, upstarts and novices seized the helm, and embattled governments somehow managed to cling on. Here, the experts who covered them take stock of what's happened - and look at what's in store for 2016.
Oregon standoff latest in dispute over Western lands (Associated Press) The standoff that started Saturday continues in the remote high desert of eastern Oregon. It is the latest flashpoint for anti-government sentiment as armed protesters occupied a national wildlife refuge to object to a prison sentence for local ranchers for burning federal land.
... experts, watchdog groups and former lab employees point to an array of problems, from a clash of cultures between the regimented and profit-driven Bechtel and the languorous, research-oriented university; to incentives that may have induced contractors to put a premium on meeting deadlines despite safety risks; to a mix of shoddy accountability and micromanagement on the part of the federal government.
At the heart of the matter is that the lab contract isn't what the contractors really care about, Mello and others say. "These companies are in there to make vast amounts of money and to gain power over government," Mello said. "By doing this for the DOE, it gives Bechtel intellectual property and access to government officials. The real money is down the line."
The only reasons to keep LANL going are to provide jobs in Northern New Mexico and to pad the pockets of private companies and UC
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under fire as MPs on Treasury Select Committee call for hearing over decision to scrap banking culture review (City A.M.) Leading MPs have slammed the City watchdog over its decision to drop a review into Britain's banking culture, raising the possibility of an imminent public grilling of top regulators. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed last week that it had scrapped plans for an inquiry into the culture and behavior of British bank employees, saying that each lender was unique and could not be easily compared. The FCA said it had decided a wide-ranging review would not help achieve its "desired outcomes" and that it would instead work directly with individual banks to promote the "delivery of cultural change".
Who are the homeless and how do we count them? (The Conversation) The "statutory" homeless are those who apply to local authorities as homeless, and are accepted as such. People are only accepted if the council deems that they are eligible for housing support, or can be classified as being "unintentionally homeless" or in "priority need". Information on statutory homelessness is readily available. But there are a much greater number of people who fit the legal description of homeless. In the UK, a person is legally defined as homeless if they have accommodation but can't reasonably be expected to occupy it, or if they don't have any accommodation at all. This definition covers a broad range of circumstances - from those who can't afford to pay rent, to those forced to leave home, for whatever reason. But the first thing to know is that there's a big difference between the number of people who the state recognises as homeless and how many people actually are.
India Will Be Fastest-Growing Economy for Coming Decade, Harvard Researchers Predict (The Wall Street Journal) It's already expected to have been the world's fastest-growing economy in 2015. But India also has the best growth prospects for the coming decade, based on the increasing variety and sophistication of the products it exports. In new forecasts by economists led by Ricardo Hausmann at Harvard University's Center for International Development, India's 7% projected annual growth rate through 2024 would continue to put it ahead of China, where similar advances in productive know-how propelled the country's rise over the past decade but are now closer to being exhausted. China's output growth is forecast to be just 4.3% a year on average for the next decade. Meanwhile, East African countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya are projected to grow at around 6%. Several Southeast Asian countries also fare well in the forecasts: The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are expected to see expansion of between 4.75% and 5.7%.
FPIs' net inflow drops to $7.4 bn in debt markets in 2015 (The Hindu) Overseas investors poured in just about $7.4 billion in the Indian debt markets in 2015, after having pumped in a staggering $26 billion in the preceding year. Foreign funds also stayed away from Indian equities in 2015 and invested just Rs. 17,806 crore ($3.2 billion) in stock markets last year. In comparison, FPIs had been investing around Rs. 1 lakh crore each into equities in the preceding three years. The decline in inflows has been attributed to a slew of domestic and international factors including concerns of a global slowdown, Chinese equity meltdown and an imminent interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
6.7 magnitude quake hits India's northeast, leaves 6 dead (Associated Press) A 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit India's remote northeast region before dawn on Monday, killing at least six people, injuring more than 100 others and causing damage to several buildings. The death and injuries were caused by falling debris. Three people were killed in Imphal, the capital of Manipur state, and another three in other parts of the state
China defends test flight in South China Sea after Vietnam objects (CNN) China has defended conducting a test flight on a newly built airfield on reclaimed land in disputed waters in the South China Sea after objections from Vietnam. Hua Chunying, China's foreign ministry spokesperson, said Saturday that a civilian aircraft used by the Chinese government conducted a test flight at the new airport on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.
China's economy: Looking ahead to 2016 (News Channel Asia) The world's second-biggest economy will likely decelerate further in 2016, amid issues such as overcapacity, rising labour costs and mounting debt. One bad sign is the tendency for indebted companies simply to shut down instead of restructuring debt.
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