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posted on 19 August 2017

Early Headlines: Huge Asteroid Fly-by, Bannon Bye Bye, US Regional Inequality, Fat America, Greek Debt Upgrade, India Starts Smart-Meter Use, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 19 August 2017

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.

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Global

  • 3-mile asteroid is the largest Earth-buzzing object NASA's ever seen (New Atlas) Asteroids whizz past Earth on a regular basis, and thankfully they're usually only a few meters wide. But next month we're due for a close encounter with a monster space rock measuring 4.4 km (2.7 mi) across, making it the largest near-Earth object (NEO) to come this close to the planet since NASA began tracking them almost 20 years ago.

U.S.

While the chief strategist’s ouster is a victory for new White House chief of staff John Kelly and his goal of eliminating leaks and bringing order to the West Wing, some believe Bannon could be an even more disruptive force for the Trump administration from the outside.

Bannon returned to Breitbart News immediately after his departure. He had turned the news site into a right-wing juggernaut as chairman before joining the Trump campaign.

  1. Legitimate moral outrage over the president’s failure to clearly and cleanly condemn Nazis and white supremacists.
  2. Protecting their company brands.
  3. Loss of respect for an incompetent president.
  • The real driver of regional inequality in America (Vox) America in the Gilded Age was a starkly unequal place, not just in terms of inequality between people but inequality between regions. Long-settled, fast-industrializing states in the Northeast were far richer than those of the West or the South, which had many fewer factories, railroads, and other kinds of capital goods that allowed for productive work and high wages. But around 1880 that began to change, and for 100 years, income gaps between states slowly converged at a rate of about 1.8% per year. But since 1980, that process has began to slow, and over the past decade it’s essentially stopped entirely. Today, Massachusetts’s GDP per capita is about double what you find in Mississippi - roughly equivalent to the gap between Switzerland and Slovakia - and it’s not getting any narrower. This article shows how high cost of housing is limiting economic mobility. Graphs below show the dramatic changes in mobility in the most recent decades.

Click for larger image.

  • Trump again puts off Afghanistan war decision (The Hill) President Trump on Friday again deferred on choosing a path forward for the 16-year-old Afghanistan war, despite a high-level meeting at Camp David to discuss options with his core national security team. The meeting included Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Vice President Pence cut short a trip to South America to attend the meeting.

This is not the first time the president was widely expected to make a decision on an updated strategy for the war in Afghanistan but held off, frustrating top national security and defense officials as well as lawmakers.

  • Fat America (The Daily Shot) Here is an area of American exceptionalism:

UK

  • London to use smart light platform to improve energy efficiency (Energati) Software company Silver Spring Networks and DW Windsor Group-owned living network company Urbancontrol have partnered to connect approximately 12,000 LED street lights in the City of London and 15,500 in Barking and Dagenham. The lights, which will eventually become part of an Internet of Things (IoT) scheme, will collect data on traffic, parking, noise, and even air quality. The smart street lights will help the City of London achieve its energy savings goals and reduce operational costs, while also improving service reliability and helping to lay a platform for future IoT applications.

Greece

Fitch believes that general government debt sustainability will steadily improve, underpinned by on-going compliance with the terms of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) programme, and reduced political risk, sustained GDP growth and additional fiscal measures legislated to take effect through 2020. The successful completion of the second review of Greece's ESM programme reduces risks that the economic recovery will be undermined by a hit to confidence or by the government building up arrears with the private sector.

India

  • India is quietly preparing to end Chinese businesses' free run here (The Economic Times) India is tightening the rules for businesses entering its power transmission sector and making stringent checks on both power and telecoms equipment for malware - moves that government and industry officials say aim to check China's advance into sensitive sectors. Chinese firms such as Harbin Electric, Dongfang Electronics, Shanghai Electric and Sifang Automation either supply equipment or manage power distribution networks in 18 cities in India. Local firms have long lobbied against Chinese involvement in the power sector, saying that they get no reciprocal access to Chinese markets.
  • India enters global smart-meter race to fight power utility losses (The Economic Times) New Delhi: India is aiming to help its ailing power distribution companies by buying five million smart meters for two of its northern states in a global tender to be conducted later this month. Energy Efficiency Services Ltd., the government agency responsible for running the country’s energy efficiency programs, will conduct the tender. For India, smart meters represent a possible gamechanger by handing power distribution companies the ability to address billing inefficiencies that have contributed to their losses and debt burden. Global investment in the technology is expected to hit $19 billion this year, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. A smart-meter is an electronic device that records electricity consumption at short intervals and communicates it back to a utility for monitoring and billing. The devices are capable of two-way communication. Most of India’s power distribution companies, or discoms, lose money on every unit of power sold due in part to theft, inadequate billing and selling below cost to poor and agricultural consumers. The forecast is for India to have installed 15 million meters by 2020. But that will leave the country far behind the global leaders who already have the numbers of units shown below:

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