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What We Read Today 19 August 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




The new three-year rescue programme will carry her beyond her next election.


  • Greece bailout: German MPs back deal after Schaeuble appeal (BBC News)  German MPs have voted by a large majority to approve a third bailout deal for Greece.  In total 453 members of parliament voted in favour, while 113 rejected the bailout and 18 abstained.  German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had earlier warned MPs that it would be "irresponsible" to oppose the €86 billion ($95 billion; £61 billion) package.



  • Eight soldiers killed, Istanbul palace attacked as Turkish unrest mounts (Reuters)   Gunmen fired on police outside an Istanbul palace and a bomb killed eight soldiers in the southeast on Wednesday, heightening a sense of crisis as Turkey's leaders struggled to form a new government.  The palace attackers have reportedly been caught and the bomb was the work of the Kurdish militant group PKK.
  • U.S., Germany to pull Patriot missiles from Turkey (Reuters)  The United States and Germany said they will pull Patriot missile batteries from southernTurkey after a reassessment of the threats stemming from the conflict in neighboring Syria.




  • Chinese stocks go on wild ride as economic gloom deepens (Reuters)  Chinese stock markets took a wild ride on Wednesday, tumbling and soaring in a session that made little sense other than to highlight that investors have almost no faith in a month-long government effort to stabilize them.  The Shanghai and Shenzhen markets fell 3% in morning trade, taking their losses to more than 8% since investors stampeded without warning on Tuesday.  But state-backed buyers later rushed in, enabling stocks to finish the day more than 1% higher.  It is a pattern that has been repeated several times since Beijing's "national team", a coalition of state-backed financial institutions and regulators, went into action early last month with instructions to halt a crash in share prices.  Econintersect:  China has a very visible "plunge protection team", unlike the mysterious one in the U.S.
  • Trying to count China's jobless (The Economist)  In spite of all the ups and downs in China’s economy over the past decade, its official unemployment rate has remained incredibly stable. Incredible in the sense of “impossible to believe”. The registered urban jobless rate is just 4.1% now. This would seem to point to economic vigour, but the problem is that it has sat at that precise level, without moving, since late 2010. And it has stayed within an absurdly narrow range of 4.0-4.3% since 2002, even at the depths of the global financial crisis.  Econintersect:  Is this what you call a "command economy"?  Is China's stable employment incredible, or simply not credible?

Grad-School Loan Binge Fans Debt Worries (The Wall Street Journal)  Graduate students now account for 40% of borrowing.  And, increasingly, many are seeking debt federal forgiveness.  With loosened requirements, the cost of the forgiveness programs is now estimated to be more than $15 billion.  As more graduate school education has been financed with student loans the number of people with student loan debt in excess of $100,000 has soared (see graphs).  A large proportion of these debts are owed for graduate degrees; 15% of those borrowing for graduate school owe more six figures, while only 0.3% of baccalaureate borrowers owe that much.


Inflation in America is all about one thing (Akin Oyedele, Business Insider)  This chart gives a unique view of a fact you "can't take shelter from":


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Just How Resilient Is Spacetime? (Scientific American)  This short article gives a straightforward discussion of space-time "stiffness" (resilience) and a sense of what is really involved in Einstein's General Theory. 
  • Moore’s Law Lives (Daily Reckoning)  Fifty years ago Gordon Moore (founder of Intel) published a paper observing that the number of elements in an integrated circuit built in silicon was doubling every two years.  He projected that forward to predict the maximum number of transistors on silicon chips would double every two years.  Because that has continued to happen we carry around in our hands computers more powerful than existed anywhere 50-60 years ago.  This article discusses the latest announcement by IBM of the quadrupling again of density on a chip before the displaced 1/4 "size" chips have even been widely implemented.

In what appears to this untrained eye to be a move back towards some of the excesses that brought the financial crisis on in the first place, FHA is adjusting its Neighborhood Watch System in an attempt to spark more mortgage lending to borrowers with lower FICO scores.

Risk tolerance is a very personal thing, and everyone is different. Just because I might jump at the opportunity, someone else might pack up and live under a bridge... with many choices in between.  There is not an analyst, an advisor, or guru who can tell you what to do. Only you yourself can, IF you are honest with yourself.  Invest, or not, accordingly.

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