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posted on 12 February 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Decline, Japan Stocks Crash, Yen And Oil Spike, Banks Pummelled, Rooftop Solar Woes, Syria Peace Plan, Afghanistan On The Brink And More

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Early Bird Headlines 12 February 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.



  • Asian shares slide as bank fears add to global gloom (Reuters) Asian shares slid on Friday as mounting concerns about the health of European banks further threatened a global economic outlook already under strain from falling oil prices and slowdown in China and other emerging markets. The prices of yen, gold and liquid government bonds of favored countries soared as investors rushed to traditional safe-haven assets. Shares in Australia and South Korea .KS11 fell about 0.5% though MSCI's dollar-denominated index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was little changed due to the fall in the dollar.Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 3.3% to a fresh 15-month low as the yen soared to a 15-month high.

  • US crude prices jump 4% from 12-year lows, but outlook still bleak (CNBC) U.S. crude prices bounced away from 12-year lows early on Friday after comments by an OPEC energy minister sparked hopes of a coordinated production cut, yet analysts said such a move remained unlikely and that oversupply would persist. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were trading at $27.35 per barrel at 0014 GMT, up $1.14 or 4.35% from their previous settlement.

  • Global Assault on Banks Intensifies as Investors Punish Weakness (Bloomberg) Theories abound as to what lies behind the selloff, with some traders fretting over falling oil prices, China's slowing economy and negative interest rates. A pullback by some sovereign-wealth funds has also been blamed for lower asset prices. Whatever the cause, the hammering has been the worst in Europe, where concerns persist about the health of some of the biggest banks eight years after the financial crisis.



  • Republicans champion voter ID laws absent credible evidence of fraud (Al Jazeera) Nine states now require an ID to vote, a requirement that critics say disenfranchises minorities and the poor. See also: Rand Paul: Black voters are not being disenfranchised.

  • Rooftop Solar Providers Face a Cloudier Future (The New York Times, MSN News) The point of this article is that regulatory changes are making rooftop solar less attractive financially to the homeowner. A key ingredient in the financial incentives has been net metering, where the power company is required to buy excess power when produced at an attractive (regulated) rate. Now some of those "net metering" rules are being changed. For example, in Nevada they have been changed retroactively leaving homeowners with installed solar holding the bag, losing money compared to never having installed solar at all. Econintersect: The NYT has missed an even bigger story. Roof top solar will probably never be cost competitive with utility scale solar in large array solar farms. Right now several studies have found that utility scale solar electricity costs about half as much as rooftop. See Which Is Cheaper -- Rooftop Solar Or Utility-Scale Solar? (Forbes)

  • Clinton Adopts Sanders' Rhetoric of `Rigged' Economy in Debate (Bloomberg) Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, her front-runner status dented by a lopsided loss to Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, adopted her challenger's assertion that the economy is "rigged" as the two debated who would be the better president for two key party constituencies: women and African Americans. Clinton opened Thursday's Democratic presidential debate by repeating her rival's characterization of the American economy, a marked shift in her rhetoric that left little room for interpretation. See also For Hillary to Survive, Clintonism Had to Die.

  • Which GOP Establishmentarian Could Be the Breakout Guy (Bloomberg) Mark Halperin and John Heilemann discuss the battle between the three remaining Republican establishment candidates on "With All Due Respect."


  • Syria conflict: World powers agree cessation of hostilities (BBC News) World powers have agreed to seek a nationwide "cessation of hostilities" in Syria to begin in a week's time, after talks in Germany. The halt will not apply to the battle against jihadist groups Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra Front. Ministers from the International Syria Support Group also agreed to accelerate and expand aid deliveries. The announcement comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, advances in Aleppo province.


  • Afghanistan is on the brink (Al Jazeera) A worsening security situation is undermining a burgeoning civil society and commitment to democracy. Afghanistan is worse off today than it was before the 2001 U.S. invasion, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).



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