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What We Read Today 31 August 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.


  • The criminalisation of American business (The Economist) The Economist thinks the American justice system is doing a terrible job of identifying the criminal acts in business operations and in punishing (really not punishing) the criminals.

  • Recent articles about Ferguson:

At least 5 current Ferguson officers apart from Brown shooter figure in lawsuits (Kimberly Kindy and Carol D. Leonnig, The Washington Post)

Ferguson shooting spurs curriculum advocates to craft lesson on race (Fox News)

  • Articles about wars elsewhere in the world:

Israel's defense establishment recommends easing Gaza restrictions (Amos Harel, Haaretz)

Libya May Be Focus Of Major Rift Between US And Regional Allies (, Naked Capitalism)

Philippine troops 'attacked in Syria's Golan Heights' (BBC News)

Pentagon: Iraq Operations Costing U.S. More Than $7.5 Million A Day (Zeke J. Miller, Time)

Russia Warns Ukraine Gas Reserves 'Critical' Ahead of Winter (Nigel Wilson, International Business Times)

Putin: You better not come after a nuclear-armed Russia (Greg Botelho and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN)

Russian 'Invasion' Breaks Budapest Memorandum, May Prompt NATO Action (Christopher Haress, International Business Times)

Vladimir Putin calls for escape route for trapped Ukrainian soldiers as fighting rages (Annie Gowan, The Washington Post)

28 volunteer soldiers trapped in Ukrainian town by separatists escape, officials say (Annie Gowan, The Washington Post)

There are 12 articles discussed today 'behind the wall'.

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  • Does divergence of S&P 500 and treasury yields pose threat to equities? (Matt Weller, Futures) We have discussed this before in recent days: in 2014 stocks and bond prices have risen in lock step. (Remember that bond prices rise when yields decline.) This author says that the behavior of stocks around the current level for the S&P 500 at 2,000 will determine where the rest of the year goes for stocks. He places high psychological significance on the 2,000 level - if the market advances from here in September, then 2,000 becomes a very strong support level and stocks could go higher through year end, according to Weller.


  • Russian Energy Giant Gazprom Wants Rubles, Not US Dollars, For Its Arctic Oil Exports Amid Western Sanctions (Maria Gallucci, International Business Times) Western sanctions against Russia are forcing its state-owned energy giants to ditch accept payment for its oil and gas exports in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan instead of the U.S. dollar. The currency switch is a protective measure for Russia and its state-controlled entities. Since U.S. dollars can be controlled and tracked by the American government, Moscow has begun avoiding making transactions in greenbacks, Kommersant said. Crude oil has been a U.S. dollar-denominated commodity for more than half a century.


  • New Rules for Reverse Mortgages (Donald Jay Korn, Financial Planning) Even though the rules have been changed to provide greater consumer protection, reverse mortgages are beneficial financial tools only in certain select cases.
  • Why is Europe not Coming together in Response to the Euro Crisis? (Yanis Varoufakis, thoughts for the post-2008 world) Hat tip to Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism. The United States struggled mightily for a century and a half to achieve federalism, but the EU has not shown any sign of even starting that struggle. Varoufakis elegantly lays out the morass of problems that is the EU and starts the discussion of a way forward.
  • Markets signaling return of economic weakness in China (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look) China's strengthening manufacturing sector appears to be hitting some resistance, as indicated by price declines for industrial commodities' futures. Iron and steel is a particularly graphic example.


  • IMF Lists 25 Brightest Young Economists (Boby Michael, International Business Times) Yes, Thomas Piketty is on the list, as are Amir Sufi, Atif Mian, Emmanuel Saez and Justin Wolfers whose work we follow frequently.
  • JPMorgan and Other Banks Struck by Hackers (Nicole Perlroth, The New York Times) A number of United States banks, including JPMorgan Chase and at least four others, were struck by hackers in a series of coordinated attacks this month, according to four people briefed on a continuing investigation into the crimes. The origin of the attacks is not known.
  • What Lies Beneath Stonehenge? (Ed Caesar, The Smithsonian) Much new detail has been defined at the ancient site and activities carried on there are more clearly understood. The age of the structures there are now dated back almost 5,000 years. Still a mystery: How were the huge rocks transported 170 miles from the quarry site in Wales?
  • Global Map of Internet Devices (Walter Kurtz, The Daily Shot email, no url)


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