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What We Read Today 18 June 2015

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.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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  • Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • This Year Is Headed for the Hottest on Record, by a Long Shot (Bloomberg)  Results from the world's top monitoring agencies vary slightly. NOAA and the Japan Meteorological Agency both had May as the hottest month on record. NASA had it as tied for the second-hottest. All three agencies agree that there has never been a hotter start to the year than the past five months.
  • Pope’s encyclical links climate and migration crises (Al Jazeera)  New message urges dialogue that recognizes 'climate migration' as a long-term reality.
  • Pope Francis: 'Revolution' needed to combat climate change (CNN)  The Pope castigated big businesses, energy companies, short-sighted politicians, scurrilous scientists, laissez faire economists, callous Christians and myopic media professionals. Scarcely any area of society escapes his probing pen in his thoroughly political encyclical.  He said we are destroying the planet: 

    "The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.  In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish."


  • U.S. Charges 243 People in $712 Million Medicare Fraud Cases (Bloomberg)  The U.S. Justice Department charged 243 people, including 46 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, with defrauding the Medicare system of $712 million through false billing.
  • 60 percent of Americans live with a minimum wage higher than the federal one (The Washington Post)  Even solidly red states are passing laws raising the minimum wage above the federal minimum.
  • House tries to revive Obama's trade agenda, passes fast-track bill (CBS News)  The House has split the two major aspects of the fast-track legislation into two separate votes, one for TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) which is generally supported by Republicans and authorizes the president to negotiate trade treaties subject to an up-or-down approval vote by the Senate, without allowing any amendments.  The second bill, the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), generally supported by Democrats, is a program which would aid workers who lost their jobs as a result of trade deals.  This will be brought up for a vote if the Senate approves the stand-alone TPA bill passed by the House.  The Senate has already approved TPA and TAA as a package.
  • Charleston Church Shooting Suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, Captured (The New York Times)  The suspect reportedly said just before or during the shooting:

I have to do it.  You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” 


  • EU Calls Emergency Summit as Greece Runs Out of Time (Bloomberg)  Euro-area leaders will hold an emergency summit Monday in Brussels with Greece set to reach the end of its bailout agreement without receiving more aid.  European Union President Donald Tusk called the summit to discuss Greece’s plight after finance ministers failed to reach an agreement at a meeting on Thursday.


  • Singapore-style teaching helps solve problem of maths failure, says new research (The Independent)  A study, by UCL Institute of Education and Cambridge University, shows that children who were taught through the Singaporean “maths mastery” approach learn faster than their classmates - making, on average, an extra month of progress in a calendar year.  Econintersect:  In prehistoric days, when this Econintersect editor was in school, what is called "maths" here was called "arithmetic".  The study here dealt with two groups:  5 - 6 year-olds and 11 - 12 year-olds.  And one other thing:  In the "dark ages" the terms we were used ti to were "mathematics" and "math".  What happened?  Is "maths" simply a shortening of "mathematics" resulting in "math" becoming redundant?  Or was it always this way in the world at large and just not so in the insular U.S.?  




In 2009, Aasia (many Christians in Pakistan are known by their first name) was plucking falsa, a kind of berry, in the fields when she got into an argument with a group of women working beside her. They were Muslim, and Aasia, Christian. The women refused to drink water from the cup that Noreen had touched, contending it was unclean. In the heat of the quarrel, they said, Noreen made blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Muhammad, a charge that can lead to the death penalty in Pakistan.

Asma and Mafia, sisters who each go by one name, as some do in parts of Pakistan, were witnesses to the alleged incident. They reported the altercation to the village cleric, Qari Saalam, who filed a police report against Aasia on charges of blasphemy five days later. State vs. Aasia Bibi was heard in a lower court in the nearby city of Nankana Sahib, and in November 2010, Aasia was found guilty and sentenced to death. Now, the former daily wage laborer and mother of two remains in solitary confinement on death row in the women’s jail in the southern Punjab city of Multan.

Saudi Arabia Must Find This Annoying (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look, Twitter)

Public in Uninformed about SCOTUS Obamacare Case (Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2015)  The Supreme Court will render a decision whether the ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare) is worded such that the government cannot provide health insurance subsidiesfor policies obtained through the Federal exchange,  Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans know "only a little" or "nothing at all" about this case.

Republicans Say Not to Fix Problem if SCOTUS Says Subsidies Not Allowed (Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2015)  And everybody else says to fix the problem.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

Click for larger image at Financial Sense.

  • UPDATE 1-Fund managers position for post-rate hike U.S. equity rally (Reuters)  A popular concept is that rising ineterest rates are bad for stocks.  But several top-performing fund managers say they are now positioning for a rally in the U.S. stock market should the Federal Reserve raise interest rates later this year as expected.  Their reasoning: That if the U.S. economy truly is strong enough for the Fed to raise rates for the first time since 2006, then the effect of higher borrowing costs should be more than offset by a pickup in economic growth and resulting rise in corporate profits.
  • Here Come 1.5M Boomerang Buyers (Realtor Mag)  According to this article, about 1.5 million home owners negatively impacted by the mortgage crisis could be on their way to re-entering the housing market within the next three years. Within five years, that number could swell to 2.2 million, according to a new study released by TransUnion.
  • Black Hole Surface is No Deadly Firewall (Scientific Computing)  Well, maybe.  A competing theory to 'the mother of all compacters' crushing all that enters into a single point of infinite density is one that suggests is something like creating a hologram where the source disappears and the holographic form replaces.  In this model when something disappears into a black hole it is merely transformed in a way you would be unaware if you were transformed.  Econintersect:  Parallel universes with singularity portals?
  • Fitbit shows off its pipes in NYSE debut as shares soar (The Washington Post)  Fitbit flexed some muscle Thursday and its shares rocketed almost 50 percent higher in the first day of trading for the fitness tracking gear maker.  The company offered $36.6 million shares at $20, raising more than $730 million for itself and stockholders who also sold as part of the package.  By the end of the day NYSE:FIT closed at $29.68, up $9.28.  The shares were up another $0,12 in early after hours trading.

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