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posted on 21 August 2016

Early Headlines: Autonomous Ships, Oil Surge Over?, Trump Appeals To Hispanics, How Much Debt For Trump?, Fracking Brine In Drinking Water, EU Banks Limping, Brazil Wins First Soccer Gold And More

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Early Bird Headlines 21 August 2016

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.



  • Remote-controlled and crewless: is this the cargo ship of the future? (World Economic Forum) We're headed toward driverless cars and trucks. Next, this article says, could be crewless ships. The future of cargo transportation will be autonomous, according to Rolls-Royce, which has revealed plans for a remote-controlled, unmanned ship that could take to the seas as early as 2020.

  • Oil price surges as OPEC brings bulls back into market (CNBC) Oil prices surged dramatically in the last two weeks thanks to OPEC freeze talk, but there's little expectation the cartel will act, especially now that crude is trading 24% higher just on hot air. Trader Todd Gordon thinks that the run up for oil has ended and he is taking an unusual bearish option position described in the video below:

  • The Twin Insurgency (The American Intersect) The postmodern state is under siege from plutocrats and criminals who unknowingly compound each other's insidiousness.

From below comes a series of interconnected criminal insurgencies in which the global disenfranchised resist, coopt, and route around states as they seek ways to empower and enrich themselves in the shadows of the global economy. Drug cartels, human traffickers, computer hackers, counterfeiters, arms dealers, and others exploit the loopholes, exceptions, and failures of governance institutions to build global commercial empires. These empires then deploy their resources to corrupt, co-opt, or challenge incumbent political actors.

From above comes the plutocratic insurgency, in which globalized elites seek to disengage from traditional national obligations and responsibilities. From libertarian activists to tax-haven lawyers to currency speculators to mineral-extraction magnates, the new global super-rich and their hired help are waging a broad-based campaign to limit the reach and capacity of government tax-collectors and regulators, or to manipulate these functions as a tool in their own cut-throat business competition.

  • Banking Explained - Money and Credit (YouTube) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. This short video has mislead almost 3 million viewers. The text on YouTube says that banks are a "riddle wrapped up in an enigma" and that is certainly true for the folks who created this presentation. The video has an incorrect description of how banks lend money and makes no mention of how money is created. Unless they knew these things before watching this video, nearly 3 million people are even further in the dark after viewing it.


  • Trump Meets With Hispanic Council in Bid to Broaden Support (Bloomberg) Donald Trump and members of his campaign team met Saturday in New York with a newly convened Hispanic advisory board as the Republican presidential nominee looks for ways to broaden his support after making criticism of illegal immigrants a centerpiece of his campaign.

  • Trump's Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties (The New York Times) Hat tip to Rob Carter) On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one. This NYT article has opened more questions than it has answered. Here is a bit of it:

But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump's real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt - twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times's inquiry also found that Mr. Trump's fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.

Real estate projects often involve complex ownership and mortgage structures. And given Mr. Trump's long real estate career in the United States and abroad, as well as his claim that his personal wealth exceeds $10 billion, it is safe to say that no previous major party presidential nominee has had finances nearly as complicated.

As president, Mr. Trump would have substantial sway over monetary and tax policy, as well as the power to make appointments that would directly affect his own financial empire. He would also wield influence over legislative issues that could have a significant impact on his net worth, and would have official dealings with countries in which he has business interests.

  • Challenge to Beaver Falls Area Water Quality (Randy Shannon) Hat tip to John L and Roger Erickson. Randy Shannon is Lab manager, Pittsburgh Mineral & Environmental Technology. This is a 49 slide presentation that discusses the water quality issues raised by fracking in western Pennsylvania. One of the early slides is shown below:



  • Things keep getting worse for EU banks (CNBC) European Union banks just can't catch a break. Many of them are still slogging uphill to recoup share price losses incurred from the Brexit vote in the U.K. European investment banking revenue overall is down 23% this year compared with the same period in 2015, according to data tracker Dealogic. And all are lagging behind U.S. banks for wallet share, or how much revenue they take in from dealmaking compared to competitors.


  • U.S. Harboring Gulen Is Destroying Turkey Ties, Premier Says (Bloomberg) U.S. failure to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Islamic cleric blamed by Turkish authorities for the failed military coup last month, is "destroying" Turkish-American relationships, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a stern rebuke ahead of a visit by Vice President Joe Biden.


  • Kurds versus Syrian army battle intensifies, complicating multi-fronted war (Reuters) Fighting between the Syrian army and Kurdish forces intensified late on Friday and into Saturday, creating the risk of yet another front opening in the multi-sided civil war. The two sides have mostly avoided confrontation during the five-year conflict, with the government focusing its efforts against Sunni Arab rebels in the west, and the Kurds mainly fighting Islamic State in northern Syria. In an indication of their reluctance to escalate further, pro-government media said on Saturday they had held preliminary peace talks.


  • China uncovers $30 billion worth of illegal banking activity: Xinhua (CNBC) Chinese police have this year uncovered $30 billion worth of illegal banking activity, involving 158 cases of underground banks and money laundering, the official Xinhua news agency reported the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) as saying late on Tuesday. A special task force, jointly launched by the MPS, central bank, and foreign exchange regulator, uncovered illegal banking services in 192 locations, the report said. Beijing started a crackdown on underground banks in April last year and uncovered over 170 cases of money laundering and illegal fund transfers involving more than ¥800 billion ($120 billion) as of last November.


  • Neymar hands Brazil precious soccer gold medal (Reuters) Brazil had lost the Olympic final three times - in 1984, 1988 and 2012 - but they finally got the gold they craved on a dramatic night at the Maracana stadium in which they outplayed the Germans but were saved three times by the woodwork. Brazil's first men's soccer gold medal came with the winning penalty in a 5-4 shootout triumph over Germany after a thrilling final ended in a draw following extra-time on Saturday.

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