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posted on 24 March 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Oil And Commodities Fall, Rockefellers Sell Exxon, IS Fighters In Europe, Credit Suisse Troubles, Chernobyl News, Chinese Buy Vancouver Homes And More

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Early Bird Headlines 24 March 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.




  • Moon used to spin 'on different axis' (BBC News) The Moon used to spin on a different axis and show a slightly different face to the Earth, a new study suggests. Using data collected by Nasa's Lunar Prospector mission in the late 1990s, scientists spotted two hydrogen-rich regions near the Moon's poles, probably indicating the presence of water ice. The icy patches are opposite each other - the line between them passes through the middle of the Moon - so it appears that this used to be its spin axis.

  • How Political Elites Have Failed To Ensure Social Justice Across Generations (Joseph Stiflitz, Social Europe) Prof. Stiglitz says that something interesting has emerged in voting patterns on both sides of the Atlantic: Young people are voting in ways that are markedly different from their elders. A great divide appears to have opened up, based not so much on income, education, or gender as on the voters' generation. There are good reasons for this divide. The lives of both old and young, as they are now lived, are different. Their pasts are different, and so are their prospects. Stiglitz says the sense of social injustice - that the economic game is rigged - is enhanced as they see the bankers who brought on the financial crisis, the cause of the economy's continuing malaise, walk away with mega-bonuses, with almost no one being held accountable for their wrongdoing. Massive fraud was committed, but somehow, no one actually perpetrated it. Political elites promised that "reforms" would bring unprecedented prosperity. And they did, but only for the top 1%. Everyone else, including the young, got unprecedented insecurity. These three realities - social injustice on an unprecedented scale, massive inequities, and a loss of trust in elites - define our political moment, and rightly so. As a result the young are rejecting more of the same and centrist political parties that have held power for decades are being abandoned.

  • CO2 Emission Solutions: A Squirt Gun For A Forest Fire? (John Petersen, InvestorIntel) Petersen runs some numbers which he claims indicate that current programs to limit fossil fuel energy production and replace with renewable green energy production are vastly insufficient to make a difference. In addition he says much larger programs would be outrageously expensive and exceed available resources needed for implementation.


  • Rockefeller Family Fund hits Exxon, divests from fossil fuels (Reuters) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. The Rockefeller Family Fund said on Wednesday it would divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and "eliminate holdings" of Exxon Mobil Corp, saying the oil company associated with the family fortune has misled the public about climate change risks. Though only a sliver of the endowment's modest $130 million in assets is invested in fossil fuels, the move is notable because a century ago John D. Rockefeller Sr. made a fortune running Standard Oil, a precursor to Exxon Mobil. The charity said it would also divest from coal and Canadian oil sands.


  • IS trains 400 fighters to attack Europe in wave of bloodshed (Associated Press) The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press. The network of agile and semi-autonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq. The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered "more or less everywhere".

  • The Troubles of Europe (Social Europe) This session of an event Monday (21 March 2016) organized by the Council on Foreign Relations addresses the challenges facing the EU today, including an aging population, an influx of refugees, and slow economic growth. Is Europe in the midst of a crisis of democratic governance? Will populism undo the Europe Union? Can Europe handle the challenges of an aging population, an influx of refugees, and slow economic growth? The speakers are: Péter Balflzs, Director, Center for European Neighborhood Studies, Central European University, Heidi Crebo-Rediker, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, King's College London.


  • Boris Johnson's Brexit Balloon Claim Burst By Treasury Committee Chairman (Huffington Post) Boris Johnson was accused of exaggerating and misrepresenting the case for Brexit by the chairman of the Commons Treasury committee today, as the two Tory MPs argued over teabags, balloons and coffins. When he announced he would be campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, the London mayor used his Daily Telegraph column to criticise the reach of European law. Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the committee, told Boris some of his claims were untrue and simply "a figment of your imagination". Tyrie then destroyed statements made by Johnson one after another.


  • Credit Suisse's epiphany is late and embarrassing (Reuters) Credit Suisse is closer to making acceptable returns for shareholders - but it has taken too long a road to get there. The Swiss bank on March 23 said it would add an extra 800 million Swiss francs ($821 million) to what it expects to lop off its group cost base by 2018, and shrink its investment bank further. Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam could have done so five months ago, and without the embarrassing goofs that have arisen along the way. For what happened at the bank see


  • Turkey says Brussels attacker deported in 2015, Belgium ignored warning (Reuters) One of the attackers in the Brussels suicide bombings was deported last year from Turkey, and Belgium subsequently ignored a warning that the man was a militant, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. Erdogan's office identified the man as Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the two brothers named by Belgium as responsible for the attacks that killed at least 31 people in Brussels on Tuesday and were claimed by the Islamic State group. In previous cases, officials have said that without evidence of crime, such as having fought in Syria, they cannot jail people deported from Turkey. Among such cases was Brahim Abdeslam, one of the suicide bombers in Paris in November, who was also sent back to Belgium from Turkey early last year.


  • United States to press Russia on Syria's Assad (Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to press President Vladimir Putin over a political transition for Syria on Thursday, after Europe's foreign policy chief turned up unexpectedly in Geneva to try to reinvigorate peace talks. With a fragile truce in place and Europe pressing the warring sides to keep going with negotiations, a state department official said Kerry wants to "get down to brass tacks" on the question of President Bashar al-Assad's future.


  • Giant arch to block Chernobyl radiation for next 100 years (Reuters) In the middle of a vast exclusion zone in northern Ukraine, the world's largest land-based moving structure has been built to prevent deadly radiation spewing from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site for the next 100 years. On April 26, 1986, a botched test at the Soviet nuclear plant sent clouds of smoldering nuclear material across large swathes of Europe, forced over 50,000 people to evacuate and poisoned unknown numbers of workers involved in its clean-up. A concrete sarcophagus was hastily built over the site of the stricken reactor to contain the worst of the radiation, but a more permanent solution has been in the works since late 2010. Below is one of eight pictures with the Reuters article.



  • Argentina 'Dirty War': Obama to release secret US files (BBC News) President Barack Obama, who is on a visit to Argentina, has promised to release secret files concerning the US role in the military coup there 40 years ago that installed one of the region's most brutal regimes. He was speaking after talks with Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Mr Obama said US military and intelligence files from the era would be declassified for the first time. He arrived in Argentina after a historic three-day visit to Cuba.


  • Chinese Buy One-Third of Vancouver Homes: National Bank Estimate (Bloomberg) Econintersect: Headline is misleading - Chinese buyers accounted for 1/3 of home sales in Vancouver in 2015. Chinese have bought far less than 1/3 of Vancouver homes. The Chinese also like Toronto, accounting for 14% of 2015 purchases there. Chinese money pouring into Vancouver has driven home price up by a compounded rate of 10% a year over the last decade.

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