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posted on 06 May 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Dollar Steady, Oil Down, Peak Oil, China Commidity Slide Resumes, So. Calif. Awaits 'Big One', Big Money Talks Basic Income, India Monsoon May Not Be Enough And More

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Early Bird Headlines 06 May 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.




  • Impact Craters - Hotbeds for Earth's Life? (R&D) About 3.8 billion years ago a long period of heavy bombardment of the young planet earth by comets and meteors ended and shortly thereafter the first life forms appeared, with some of the earliest fossils dating 3.5 billion years ago. Studying the sediments and rocks in the newer Sudbury crater (1.8 billion years old) in Ontario, scientists have found the types of carbonaceous and hydrothermal materials that would have resulted from the impact and subsequent complex molecule formation that would lead to life. The deposits and nutrient depletions found are consistent with a large amount of microbial life developing following the impact. The scientists propose these 1.8 billion year old events as a model for what happened 2 billion years earlier.

  • Oil Isn't the Only Commodity Threatened by Tesla's Rise (Bloomberg) Elon Musk's plans for the car industry promise to disrupt yet another market - platinum, used in catalytic converters to clean pollutants from petroleum combustion exhaust. But it's not just Musk. Pretty much every carmaker is rushing to introduce electric cars to end use of gasoline and diesel. As consumers switch, demand for the metal - essential to stripping toxic emissions from tailpipe exhausts - declines. With diesel already suffering from the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the future looks increasingly bleak. Even Saudi Arabia is preparing for a post-oil era. Econintersect: For decades analysts have tried to when peak oil production would occur. Ironically we may never find out because peak oil consumption may occur first.


  • Trump punches back: I'm not ready to support Ryan's agenda (The Hill) Earlier Thursday Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said he's "not ready" to back his party's presumptive nominee. Trump replied, "I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda." Ryan is one of many prominent Republicans who have not indicated they will support the presumptive nominee of their party. Trump elaborated on his response to Ryan:

"Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!"

In the weeks ahead, the calls for Sanders to wrap up his campaign are likely to become more explicit. He seems certain to ignore them, and he has at least four reasons to do so. First, most of his supporters want him to keep going. Second, he still has a (very) slim chance of obtaining the nomination. Third, there isn't much evidence that his dropping out would affect the result in November. And fourth, back in 2008, Clinton herself did something very similar to what Sanders is doing now, extending her primary contest with Barack Obama well beyond the point at which most commentators had concluded that she had no chance of winning.

  • Earthquake expert: San Andreas fault 'locked, loaded and ready to roll' (CNBC) A leading seismologist has warned that a major earthquake is overdue to strike Southern California, The Los Angeles Times reported. The portions of Southern California that extend along the San Andreas fault have not seen a major earthquake since 1857, according to the LAT. That leaves the fault - which is considered both the state's longest and most dangerous fault - ripe to produce a quake that could potentially reach as high as magnitude 8, Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said to the LAT. Thomas said:

"The springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. The southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it's locked, loaded and ready to go."

  • Justice Department Launches Challenge to North Carolina Bathroom Law (The Wall Street Journal) The Justice Department warned North Carolina officials Wednesday that it considers the state's new bathroom law a violation of the Civil Rights Act, putting the state on the front line of a showdown between Republican state leaders and the Democratic administration in Washington. The Justice Department launched a three-pronged attack, sending letters to Gov. Pat McCrory citing an alleged Title VII violation; to the state's secretary of public safety regarding an alleged violation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013; and to the University of North Carolina regarding Title IX. In response, Republican state leaders said the Obama administration had declared a war on states' rights. The letter gives Mr. McCrory until Monday to reply on whether the state "will remedy these violations" by not implementing the law. Failure to take corrective action will result in Federal funds for North Carolina being withheld.

  • NC Refuses to Meet DOJ's Demands on Anti-LGBT Law (The Daily Beast) North Carolina will not meet the Obama administration's deadline to "remedy" its controversial HB2 law by Monday, the Raleigh News & Observer reported Thursday. See preceding article. House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, indicated the state intends to address the law, but that the DOJ's five-day deadline was not enough time. Moore told reporters:

"That deadline will come and go. We don't ever want to lose any money, but we're not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday's date. That's not how this works."


  • Abe Breaks Putin's Isolation as Rare G-7 Leader to Visit Russia (Bloomberg) President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a rare bilateral meeting with a Group of Seven leader, marking a breakthrough in Kremlin efforts to end Russia's isolation since it intervened in Ukraine more than two years ago. Abe, who is due to meet with Putin today (Friday) in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, has argued for engagement with the Russian leader to further Japan's goal of ending a World War II territorial dispute, as well as in tackling issues such as Syria. Russia played down expectations of serious progress in resolving the dispute over ownership of a chain of islands, even as officials sought to make political capital out of Abe's decision to visit.


  • Much-anticipated monsoon may not solve India's drought crisis (CNN) India's killer heatwave is leaving the country reeling from the worst drought in decades and a rural population struggling to survive. Relief is due with the arrival of the monsoon in mid-June, and because of the impending La Nina weather pattern, the forecast is for above-average rainfall. However WaterAid India's Head of Policy, Nitya Jacob, says groundwater levels are so depleted that even if a good monsoon comes in June -- and meteorologists predict there will be one that ends the drought -- it won't be enough.


  • China April services sector expansion slows, employment rebounds - Caixin PMI (Business Standard) Activity in China's service sector expanded again in April, though the gains were slightly less robust than in March, a private survey showed on Thursday, as firms resumed adding staff after a rare decline the previous month. The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers' index (PMI) for April dropped to 51.8 from 52.2 in March, as new business increased at the fastest pace since January while business expectations remained unchanged.

  • From coal to eggs, China commodities selloff deepens as rally turns to slide (Reuters) So much for the appearance of a pause in the commodity bubble deflating in China in April, as Friday saw commodity futures from coal to eggs extend falls on Friday as speculators pulled more money out of markets whose sharp surge two weeks ago unnerved global investors and forced regulators to step in and restore calm. Commodities linked to China's steel sector, which led the mid-April rally, were the hardest hit, deepening this week's losses as concerns emerged that demand in the world's biggest steel consumer could soon wane. The selloff spread to agricultural products including soybeans, eggs and cotton.


  • Brazil court suspends key Dilma foe (Financial Times) Brazil's Supreme Court has suspended the powerful speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, the architect of the impeachment movement against President Dilma Rousseff. Judge Teori Zavascki said that Mr Cunha was under investigation over alleged corruption and obstruction of justice in relation to Brazil's state-owned oil company, Petrobras, making him inappropriate for high public office. The judge said in his ruling:

"Nothing, absolutely nothing, if you draw from the constitution, could minimally justify him continuing to exercise such elevated public functions."

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