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posted on 31 March 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Where Banksters Go To Prison, Antarctic Ice Melt Threatens Coasts, Death Of English Steel, Vietnam And China To Ally? And More

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Early Bird Headlines 31 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.




  • This Is Where Bad Bankers Go to Prison (Bloomberg) Nowhere else on the planet does the law catch up with banksters. Iceland is the only nation that put top finance executives behind bars after the 2008 crisis. Still, fears of crony capitalism remain.

  • 'Drastic' Antarctic melt could double global sea-level rise (BBC News) Global sea levels could rise by more than double the current best estimate, according to a new analysis of climate change in Antarctica. The modeling assessment says that Antarctic melting alone could contribute more than a meter to sea level by the end of this century. By 2500, according to the study, the same source could cause levels across the world to rise by 13m. The authors say that rapid cuts in carbon emissions could limit this risk. For the full research pa[er, see Contribution of Antarctica to past and future sea-level rise (Nature).

  • Age of 'Hobbit' species revised (BBC News) The diminutive human species nicknamed "the Hobbit" is older than previously recognized, scientists now say. The discovery of Homo floresiensis in 2003 caused a sensation because it seemed the creature could have been alive in the quite recent past. But a new analysis indicates the little hominin probably went extinct at least 50,000 years ago - not the 12,000 years ago initially thought to be the case. Econintersect: Just as with the Neanderthals, the Homo floresiensis only survived for a few thousand years after first contact with homo sapiens. For full research paper see Revised stratigraphy and chronology for Homo floresiensis at Liang Bua in Indonesia (Nature)


  • Trump says punish women for illegal abortions, then back-tracks (BBC News) Presidential candidate Donald Trump briefly called for "some form of punishment" for women who have abortions, if it became illegal. His initial comments made during a town hall event with cable network MSNBC sparked a wave of criticism. However, Mr Trump quickly reversed his position, saying only the person who performed the abortion should be punished. But he maintained: "My position has not changed." (Econintersect: Just his statements have changed.) The front-runner supports a ban on abortions, with certain exceptions.


  • As the fate of Tata Steel's UK operations hangs in the balance, is the writing on the wall for the British steel industry? (City A.M.) The fate of Port Talbot steelworks and thousands of jobs lies in the hands of the government today with investors showing little appetite for buying the UK operations of Tata Steel outright. Prime Minister David Cameron will chair an emergency meeting of key ministers as Number 10 pledges to "ensure a sustainable future" for the troubled Welsh plant. Tata Steel employs 5,500 in the UK, although the think tank IPPR estimates 40,000 jobs could be lost in UK steel making communities if no buyer is found. Econintersect: Does this mean that Britain will finally emerge from the Iron Age?

  • Britain's steel industry: decline isn't just down to Tata (The Conversation) Steel is only part of the long list of heavy manufacturing industries to move out of Britain since the 1970s to lower cost areas. Towards the end of the 1990s, the Department of Trade and Industry was arguing for Britain to focus on "knowledge-based industries" and leave heavy manufacturing to emerging economies. As a result, policies were initiated to support economic clusters that would promote industries that emphasized design, research and innovation.


  • Assad says he can form new Syria government with opposition (Reuters) President Bashar al-Assad said it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian government including opposition figures, but his opponents responded on Wednesday that no administration would be legitimate while he remained in office. Assad, bolstered by military victory in the desert city of Palmyra, was quoted by Russia's RIA news agency as saying a new draft constitution could be ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed.


  • Narendra Modi leaves for Washington (The Hindu) Mr. Modi will attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on Thursday and Friday and from there he will travel to Saudi Arabia on a two-day visit with a focus on boosting energy and security cooperation. Wednesday, in Brussels, Mr. Modi finished attending the 13th India-EU Summit in Brussels on Wednesday, where he held bilateral talks with his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel.


  • Amid sea dispute, China calls for deeper defense ties with Vietnam (Reuters) Hat tip to Rob Carter. The militaries of China and Vietnam should deepen their exchanges, communication and friendship, China's defense minister said during a visit to Hanoi, amid a festering territorial dispute in the South China Sea. The two communist-led states' claims in the South China Sea came to a head in 2014, when Beijing parked an oil rig in waters off the Vietnamese coast, leading to anti-China riots.


  • The CEDA Report - one of the worst ever (Billy Blog) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Here is a review of a "high profile" fiscal responsibility report issued by the so-called Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), a lobbying group in Australia. Since this report repeats many fallacies shared around the world it is a worthwhile read for anyone, anywhere.


  • How Brazil's media is hounding out the president (The Conversation) Brazil's media has set up federal judge, Sergio Moro, as a sort of avenging angel tasked with bringing down Rousseff and her government. Moro has overseen the two-year "Car Wash" investigation into corruption at the state oil firm Petrobras. The Car Wash investigations have undoubtedly been very important for the country - and have been possible thanks to the government's strengthening of the autonomy of the federal police and the implementation of anti-corruption measures in the last few years. But Moro has himself been criticized for not targeting opposition leaders involved in corruption allegations, for seeking media fame, and for allowing himself to emerge as a sort of "right wing" hero among sectors of the population disillusioned with the democratic process and Brazilian politicians in general. Econintersect: In other words the prosecutor is being accused of "selective enforcement" and is targeting one of the politicians (Rouseff) who apparently has no direct connection to the scandal.

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