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What We Read Today 24 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world



  • Lagarde Push for Greece Debt Relief Challenges Merkel (Bloomberg)  Now that Greece is eligible again for loans from the IMF, getting any more money from the fund may hinge on a test of wills between Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel.  While Merkel hasn’t signed on to debt relief for Greece, she hasn’t ruled it out


  • Turkey vows to continue campaign against Islamic State militants (BBC News)  Turkey has vowed to keep up a crackdown on Islamic State (IS) militants, after launching its first air strikes against their positions in Syria.  Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the strikes were part of a broad "process".  Turkey arrested IS suspects on Friday. It has also said it would let the US use a key airbase to attack IS targets.



  • President Obama arrives in Kenya (BBC News)  Barack Obama has arrived in Kenya on the first visit to his ancestral home as serving US president.  During his two-day visit Mr Obama will hold talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and other top officials. 




  • Los Zetas Drug Cartel Linked to US Helicopter Downing (Washington Free Beacon)  A shooting incident last month that forced a U.S. border patrol helicopter to make an emergency landing near Laredo, Texas, was the work of Mexican drug traffickers, and analysts say the attack highlights growing narcotics trafficking across porous U.S. borders.

The markets always expect higher inflation (Mike Sankowski, Twitter)  Hattip to Roger Erickson,  Mike Sankowski has contributed to GEI.

So much for currency wars (Anjani Trevedi, Twitter)

This could be the worst oil crash in 45 years (Corey Stern, Business Insider)  Analysts are now revising projections that oil prices would firm toward the end of 2015.  Instead, higher than projected production has prices rolling over again and the outlook for the next several months is for lower prices, possibly even taking out the lows in the $40s seen in 4Q 2014.  From Morgan Stanley’s Martijn Rats:

“We have been expecting the current downturn to be as severe as the one in 1986 — the worst for at least 45 years — but not worse than that.” 

“If this were to be the case [current market worse than 1985-86], there would be nothing in our experience that would be a guide to the next phases of this cycle, especially over the relatively near term.  In fact, there may be nothing in analyzable history.” 


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Economics Made Easy (The American Spectator)  This column says that you will understand economics by reading John Tamny’s new book, Popular Economics. After just one reading of this clear, easy to read, and entertaining book, you will understand economics better than most academic Ph.Ds., who are pettifogged by so much PC posturing that even they no longer know what they are talking about.  After this type of praise, and that of Steve Forbes (below), we feel compelled to read the book.  Steve Forbes:

“Tamny does for economics what the Gutenberg printing press did for the Bible, making a previously inaccessible subject open to all. Equally important, he does to economists what Toto did to the Wizard of Oz: pulling aside the curtain to expose the fraud that has become modern economics.”

  • The First People Entered the Americas 23,000 Years Ago (Mental Floss)  Remains have been found of humans in the Yucatan (13,800 years old) and Chile (14,600 years old), older than the 13,000 year old evidnece left by the Clovis People of North America,long thought to be the first humans in the New World.  Two new scientific papers provide new information about how people migrated to North and South America thousands of years ago, one that indicates that humans migrated in a single wave from Siberia 23,000 years ago, and one that finds evidence for a genetic link between some Amazonian peoples and indigenous Australians and islanders from southeast Asia.

  • Hedge Funds Are Holding First-Ever Gold Net-Short Position (Bloomberg)  Hedge funds are holding the first ever bet on a decline in gold prices since the U.S. government started collecting the data in 2006.  The funds and other speculators shifted to a net-short position of 11,345 contracts in New York futures and options in the week ended July 21, according to figures from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

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