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What We Read Today 19 July 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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Today we have a section on recent changes in trends for births to unwed mothers.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • The disappearing woman (Al Jazeera)  What accounts for the proliferation of stories in books and movies about women abandoning their lives?  It suggests that readers and viewers feel overburdened and yearn to disappear.  This article discusses some of the factors that could be creating these situations.
  • Deal Could Cut Tariffs on $1 Trillion in Tech Trade (Bloomberg)  Trade negotiators tentatively agreed on Saturday to eliminate tariffs on an array of technology products valued at $1 trillion worth of global commerce.  The breakthrough toward the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement took place at an ambassadors’ meeting at the European Union embassy in Geneva.


  • Obama sends Iran deal to wary Congress, Israel urges rejection (Reuters)  President Barack Obama's administration sent a nuclear agreement with Tehran to Congress on Sunday and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. lawmakers to reject a deal he said would only feed an "Iranian terror machine".
  • Study: Women of color less satisfied at work (CNN)  More than half -- 55% -- of the nearly 1,400 multicultural women who took part in the online survey said they would consider leaving their company in the next three years versus 48% of white, non-Hispanic women.


  • Merkel Sees Greek Debt Relief Option as Banks Set to Open (Bloomberg)  German Chancellor Angela Merkel held out the prospect of limited debt relief as crisis-ravaged Greece prepares to reopen its banks three weeks after they were shut.  Merkel told German broadcaster ARD that she’s prepared to discuss the matter once Greece successfully completes the first round of a new bailout. While the remarks don’t go beyond pledges already made by euro-region governments, they signal that the topic could be considered by the end of the year. She ruled out any haircut on Greek debt.  Econintersect:  If no haircut then releif could be only lower interest rates or longer repayment time --- or both.


  • Greek banks to reopen for first time in three weeks (The Guardian)  Withdrawal limit relaxed to €420 a week and deposit boxes can be emptied, but capital controls remain.  Queues expected to form outside branches as customers rush to empty deposit boxes they have been unable to access.


  • Ukraine crisis: Kiev and rebels trade blame over Donetsk shelling (BBC News)  Ukraine's military and pro-Russian separatists have accused each other of shelling central areas of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.  The rebels claimed that one civilian died in the overnight attacks. Ukraine said the separatists themselves opened fire on the city.  International observers on the ground voiced concern over "a serious increase in tension" in Donetsk.  These were the first such attacks on central Donetsk since a February truce.


  • Breakaway Transnistria region could become next flashpoint with Russia (Al Jazeera)  Moscow-allied de facto state between Moldova and Ukraine threatens to destabilize region.  Despite being recognized by no official government, Transnistria, a narrow strip of land running from the Ukrainian border to the Dniester’s right bank, has survived 25 years since declaring independence in 1990. Moldova has learned to live alongside its Moscow-backed separatist region, continuing to update contingency plans in the hopes of future re-integration. Meanwhile, Russia bases over 1,000 regular troops as part of its Operational Group on the territory, while an international peacekeeping force and a mediated program of negotiations help maintain calm.  Some observers fear Russia may try to use its powerful leverage over Transnistria to force concessions in Ukraine, stoking a crisis there as an excuse to threaten military intervention or actually carry one out. In the meantime, trade restrictions linked to the conflict in Ukraine are bringing the region closer to economic collapse.  For other sensitive regions, see Latvia struggles with restive Russian minority amid regional tens and Russian exclave sandwiched between Moscow and the West (about Kaliningrad which has strong ties to the West).


  • Taiwan election: KMT nomination sets up battle of women (BBC News)  Taiwan's governing Kuomintang (KMT) has chosen a woman to be its candidate in January's presidential poll, setting up the first-ever all-female contest between the country's two main parties.  The KMT endorsed Hung Hsui-chu, currently the deputy speaker of parliament, at a party congress.  She is expected to face a tough challenge from Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).  Relations with mainland China are likely to be a major campaign issue.  Ms Hung favours closer relations while Ms Tsai and her party fear this could threaten the island's sovereignty.

Single Motherhood, in Decline Over All, Rises for Women 35 and Older (The New York Times)  The birthrate for unmarried mothers, which had been steadily increasing since the early 1980s, peaked in 2008 and has declined 14 percent since, more than the decline for all women. The recent declines were sharpest among teenagers; black and Hispanic women; and those without a college degree — all of whom have typically had the highest rates of single motherhood — according to data from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.  But the birthrate above age 35 has increased.


Unwed Women in the United States Are Having Fewer Babies (The Daily Beast)  The most obvious explanation for the lower rate in “illegitimate” children, has to do with an overall decrease in the birth rate. The fertility rate fell to a record low in 2013, so it makes sense that if all women are having fewer babies, then the rate to unwed mothers would fall, too. But the birth rates for married women haven’t fallen as quickly as those of their unwed counterparts, and have actually increased slightly.


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • China unleashes $483bn margin trader to stem stock rout (The Independent)  China has created what amounts to a state-run margin trader with $483 billion of firepower, its latest bid to end a stock market rout that threatens to drag down economic growth and erode confidence in President Xi Jinping's government.  China Securities Finance (CSF) can access as much as 3 trillion yuan of borrowed funds from sources including the central bank and commercial lenders. The money may be used to buy shares and provide liquidity to brokerages.  China's total market capitalization is about $6.6 trillion so this fund, using modest margin, could trade up to 10% or a little more of market capitalization.
  • Who is the 3rd president of the USA? (Quora)  To the title question Econintersect will add another question:  Whos is the only president elected to two separate terms with a different president intervening?  Okay, history books will tell you that Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the U.S.  They will also tell you that Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president, with an intervening term by the 23rd president Benjamin Harrison.  However there are nine men who were president of the country starting with the Continental Congress in 1774 which was led by President Peyton Randolph, followed by President Henry Middleton, and then (again) Peyton Randolph.  Following the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were three more presidents:  John Hancock, Henry Laurens, and John Jay.  Under the Articles of Confederation there were also three presidents who were officially called President of the United States:  Samuel Huntington, Thomas McKean, and John Hanson.  So George Washington, the first president under the Constitution of the United States which superseded the Articles of Confederation in 1788, was actually the 4th man to hold the title of President of the Untied States and the 10th man to hold the title of President of what would become the United States.

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