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posted on 22 February 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Rise, Europeans Selling Stocks, Appalachian Muslims, U.S. Pipelines Suffer, Brexit Turmoil, IS Bombs Damascus, China Media Ban And More

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Early Bird Headlines 22 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.




  • The World's Biggest Miner May Be About to Toast Its Oil Drillers (Bloomberg) BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, also is a big oil company and that is reflected in the share price which has been tracking oil prices rather than iron ore. Since oil is expected to have a stronger rebound over the next 1-2 years than is iron ore, the stock (NYSE:BHP) may fare better than other miners over that time frame.



"The foundation of my friendship is that both groups - Muslims and people from Central Appalachia - feel marginalized. Muslims are viewed as terrorists, Appalachians as uneducated and poor."

  • As U.S. shale sinks, pipeline fight sends woes downstream (Reuters) Within weeks, two low-profile legal disputes may determine whether an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies expected to hit U.S. oil and gas producers this year will imperil the $500 billion pipeline sector as well. In the two court fights, U.S. energy producers are trying to use Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to shed long-term contracts with the pipeline operators that gather and process shale gas before it is delivered to consumer markets. The attempts to shed the contracts by Sabine Oil & Gas (SOGCQ.PK) and Quicksilver Resources (KWKAQ.PK) are viewed by executives and lawyers as a litmus test for deals worth billions of dollars annually for the so-called midstream sector.

  • Kasich signs bill to defund Planned Parenthood (CNN) Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the state from contracting for health services with any organization that performs or promotes abortions, blocking government funds to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood isn't explicitly named in the legislation, but the law will prevent more than $1 million in funding from the state health department from going to the nonprofit to fund programs such as HIV testing, health screenings and prevention of violence against women.


  • Traders Would Rather Get Nothing in Bonds Than Buy Europe Stocks (Bloomberg) The cash reward for owning European stocks is about seven times larger than for bonds. Investors are ditching the equities anyway. Even with the Euro Stoxx 50 Index posting its biggest weekly rally since October, managers pulled $4.2 billion from European stock funds in the period ended Feb. 17, the most in more than a year, according to a Bank of America Corp. note citing EPFR Global. The withdrawals are coming even as corporate dividends exceed yields on fixed-income assets by the most ever.



  • Thousands of London homes are left vacant long-term (City A.M.) Despite a chronic housing shortage in the capital, tens of thousands of homes in London are left vacant on a long-term basis, according to new data. More than 22,000 homes have been left empty by their owners for more than six months, despite soaring rents and property prices, data obtained under Freedom of Information by The Guardian shows. The data also finds a large number of the homes have been left vacant for years, rather than months. The actual figures could be higher because owners are not required to report when a home is not occupied.

  • Brexit: uncertainty mounts for foreign bond buyers (Financial Times) Foreign bond buyers have started to raise concerns about the effect of "Brexit" on UK companies and banks, in the latest sign of growing uncertainty over the impact of the British referendum on EU membership.

  • Brexit could lead house prices five per cent lower (City A.M.) Online estate agent eMoov has warned that many UK residents will be impacted by property prices, which is likely to be the "primary concern" of many people, "as their home is the most expensive asset they are likely to ever own". The company thinks that it won't necessarily be leaving the EU itself that could see house prices drop, but the uncertainty amongst homeowners and buyers as to what will happen next.

  • Sterling hit by 'Brexit' worries after London Mayor joins 'out' camp ( Sterling tumbled on Monday, hitting a two-year low against the yen, as concern grew that Britain would quit the European Union after influential London Mayor Boris Johnson threw his weight behind the exit campaign. The pound fell almost 1% against the dollar, euro and yen, nearly reversing gains made on Friday after EU leaders agreed unanimously on a package of measures aimed at keeping Britain in the 28-nation bloc. It slid as far as $1.4235 from around $1.4405 late on Friday before stabilising around $1.4275, down 0.9% on the day.

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  • Suspected arson at planned refugee center in Germany (Al Jazeera) Onlookers celebrated as a suspected arson fire damaged a former hotel being converted into a refugee home in eastern Germany, police said Sunday, raising new concerns about violence toward migrants in a nation that registered more than a million asylum-seekers last year. The blaze in the roof of the building in Bautzen, in the eastern state of Saxony, broke out overnight. Police said no one was injured but a group of people gathered outside, some "commenting with derogatory remarks or unashamed joy" at the fire.


  • Syria conflict: IS claims deadly Homs and Damascus blasts (BBC News) The Islamic State group says it carried out bomb attacks in the Syrian capital Damascus and the city of Homs, which left at least 140 people dead. Four blasts in the southern Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab killed at least 83 people, state media say. Earlier in Homs, 57 people, mainly civilians, were killed in a double car bombing, a monitoring group reports. Both of Sunday's attacks targeted areas dominated by Islamic minorities reviled by the Sunni Muslim radicals of IS.


  • Putin is playing bad cards well - but his days are numbered (City A.M.) The author sees the Russian President as "just your standard, garden-variety Gaullist", determined to restore Russian national pride and global status after a perceived period of humiliation following Moscow's defeat in the Cold War. That Putin has succeeded in restoring Russian pride cannot be in doubt; his approval ratings - despite the economic free-fall the country presently finds itself in - soar in the 80% range, the envy of any western leader. But the author sees the Putin reign coming to grief ultimately on economic rocks and says his days are numbered,


  • India caste unrest: Army takes control of Delhi water link (BBC News) India's army has taken control of a key canal that supplies water to Delhi, the capital's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said. Protesters from the Jat community demanding job quotas in neighbouring Haryana state seized the Munak canal. The blockage and damage to water treatment plants led to a disruption of supplies to Delhi. It is not clear how long repairs will take.


  • China overcapacity problems worsen over 2008-2015 - EU chamber (Reuters, Industrial overcapacity in China has got much worse since 2009, with Beijing struggling to implement reforms and overcome the resistance of growth-obsessed local governments, a European business lobby said on Monday. China's central government has identified overcapacity and the closure of debt-ridden "zombie" firms as one of its key policy priorities for 2016, and it has already published action plans aimed at shutting 100 million-150 million tonnes of low-end steel capacity and 500 million tonnes of coal production.

  • Beijing is banning all foreign media from publishing online in China (Quartz) In the latest sign that China's long-touted "opening up" is reversing into a "closing down," a Chinese ministry has issued new rules that ban any foreign-invested company from publishing anything online in China, effective next month. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's new rules (link in Chinese) could, if they were enforced as written, essentially shut down China as a market for foreign news outlets, publishers, gaming companies, information providers, and entertainment companies starting on March 10.


  • Ballot question on Morales re-election in trouble (Associated Press) Early results and an unofficial partial vote count early Monday indicated President Evo Morales' bid to extend his presidency by amending the constitution was headed toward a narrow defeat. Morales has governed for a decade. A "yes" vote in Sunday's referendum would have let Bolivia's first indigenous president seek a fourth term in 2019.

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