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posted on 14 April 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Higher, Nikkei Surges, Yen Weaker, US Guzzling Gas, Wells Fargo Material Errors, Corbyn Backs Stay, Syrian Misery In Lebanon, India's Water Problems And More

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Early Bird Headlines 14 April 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.




  • Researchers generate clean energy using bacteria-powered solar panel ( Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. This new type of solar electric cell has the potential to supply permanent electricity "for small, wireless telemetry systems as well as wireless sensors used at remote sites where frequent battery replacement is impractical". The work was reported by research team leader and co-author of a paper on the subject, Seokheun "Sean" Choi, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Binghamton University's Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science.



  • Citigroup, Wells Fargo Swap Bad-Boy Role (The Wall Street Journal) Citigroup, which has endured a number of regulatory stumbles in recent years, was the only bank whose "living will" plan wasn't rejected by either the Federal Reserve or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. On the other hand, Wells Fargo, which has easily passed previous capitalization and other regulatory tests, was one of the banks with their plan rejected. Wells Fargo received the most critical rebuke of any bank failing to have a "living will" accepted, cited for have submitted "material errors". From this article:

Wednesday's result reinforces a strong message that regulators have been sending to Wall Street: The government will reward banks that shrink and simplify. It also signals that regulators believe it is possible for a large, complex bank to develop a credible bankruptcy plan as required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.

Citigroup, the inventor of the financial supermarket and known for its sprawling operations, has cut more than 26% of its assets since its peak in 2007. Once the largest U.S. bank, it is now fourth as ranked by assets.



  • Brexit: the view from Germany (The Conversation) Chancellor Angela Merkel wouldn't like to see Britain leave the EU, but a remain vote is not necessarily an easy option either.


One of the biggest problems is child labour. We estimate that 60-70% of Syrian refugee children (those under 18) in Lebanon are working. Rates are even higher in the Beqaa Valley in the east of the country, where children aged as young as five pick beans, figs and potatoes. In towns and cities, Syrian children work on the streets, begging, selling flowers or tissues, shining shoes, and cleaning car windscreens. Children also work in markets, factories, auto repair shops, aluminum factories, grocery and coffee shops, in construction and running deliveries.

Syrian families in Lebanon are increasingly marrying their young teenage daughters to older Syrian men, usually aged in their twenties and thirties. While we did not find evidence of child trafficking as has been reported in the refugee camps of Jordan, girls often do not consent to these marriages, and they cannot realistically choose to leave their husbands. Once married, they very probably have no choice about whether or when to have sex, and are likely to face domestic violence.


  • What it looks like when Russian attack jets fly 'dangerously close' to a Navy ship (The Washington Post) Russian attack jets flew "dangerously close" to a U.S. Navy destroyer numerous times in the Baltic Sea this week, according to U.S. officials, continuing a pattern of behavior in the region that the Defense Department has previously decried. The incidents occurred Monday and Tuesday, with the planes making multiple passes by the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer, while it was traveling in international waters, U.S. European Command officials said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.


  • India: Water wars (Financial Times) Mismanagement of water could be a limiting economic factor for India. India has one of the lowest water resources in Asia. Not only is the issue of water in the broad economy a significant problem, it is also a social issue. In some communities personal sanitation is so poor that people aren't getting married because of it.


  • Vietnam tells China to shift its rig and stop complicating ties (Reuters) Hat tip to Rob Carter. Vietnam demanded China move a controversial oil rig on Thursday and abandon plans to start drilling in waters where jurisdiction is unclear, the latest sign of festering unease among the two communist neighbors. The $1 billion rig, which was at the center of a fierce diplomatic stand-off between the countries in 2014, had moved into an area of the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea about which Vietnam said the two countries were still "executing delineation discussions". China claims most of the resource-rich South China Sea amid rival claims by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Most of the rival claims observe the international standard 200-mile-limit while China's claims extend several times that distance.

South Korea

  • South Korea ruling conservatives suffer upset defeat in parliamentary vote (Reuters) South Korea's ruling conservative party suffered an upset defeat in a parliamentary election on Wednesday, local media said early on Thursday based on election commission data, in a stinging blow to President Park Geun-hye. The loss by Park's Saenuri Party, which had been expected to regain a majority, will mean her government will face more deadlock in the National Assembly as she tries to push through her legislative agenda to boost a sluggish economy. The defeat is also likely to dent prospects for the party to field a winning candidate in the presidential vote scheduled late next year to succeed Park for a single five-year term.



  • U.S. Court Clears Way for Argentina to Re-Enter Capital Markets (The Wall Street Journal) A ruling on Wednesday by a U.S. appeals court cleared the way for Argentina to pay its debts and return to international capital markets for the first time in more than 15 years. A three-judge panel affirmed a U.S. District Court decision to lift an injunction that had prevented the South American nation from widely borrowing because of its failure to pay holdout bondholders after a 2001 default on more than $80 billion of debt.


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