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What We Read Today 25 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".).


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

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Topics covered today include:

  • Healthcare costs for retirees by state
  • Income requirements in retirement
  • Crashing markets in China and Japan
  • EU refugee crisis

And more than a dozen additional topics.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Budget report sees shrinking deficits, but only for now (Associated Press)    An unforeseen flood of revenue is shrinking federal deficits to the lowest level of President Barack Obama's tenure, Congress' nonpartisan budget adviser said Tuesday. But in a report that will fuel both parties in their autumn clash over spending, the analysts also warned that perilously high shortfalls will roar back unless lawmakers act.
  • White House jumper killed after pulling knife in Pennsylvania court (CNN)  A man who climbed a wall near the White House in March was shot and killed at a Pennsylvania courthouse Tuesday after slashing a deputy sheriff with a knife, an official told CNN affiliate WPVI-TV.  Curtis Smith entered the lobby of the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester and attacked the deputy sheriff, according to a statement from Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan. Another deputy sheriff drew his weapon and shot Smith.  The injured deputy has been hospitalized in stable condition.
  • Relief Rally Evaporates in U.S. Stocks as China Anxiety Bubbles (Bloomberg Business)  A rebound that took the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than 440 points disappeared as traders said trepidation over what will happen in China’s market made holding on to stocks too risky for most investors.  See Gary's GEI Market Close report for details.  Video below has a technical strategy session episode from Jeff DeGraff, Chairman of Renaisance Macro, presented on Bloomberg TV: 


  • 'The wave has reached us:' EU gropes for answers to migrant surge (Reuters)  Hungary is building razor wire fence and walls at the to try to stop "the wave" but these impediments are not likely to stop the flow.  Well over 1,000 refugees are expected in Europe before this summer is over, 800,000 of them in Germany alone.

The Balkans is in the grips of an unprecedented surge in migration fueled by war in Syria and instability across the Middle East.

More than 100,000 migrants have entered Hungary, part of Europe’s Schengen zone of passport-free travel, this year en route to the more affluent countries of western and northern Europe. While still small in comparison with the record numbers on the move nearer conflict zones, the flow is increasing.

The influx into Hungary ticked up on Monday to its highest daily rate this year – 2,093. More were on their way, with an estimated 8,000 making their way through Serbia and 3,000 crossing from Greece into Macedonia every day.

Hungary demanded more money from the EU to alleviate the burden, saying the distribution of funds was “humiliating”. One senior European official said that, in the absence of action, “Europe has failed”.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, warned against expecting numbers to fall any time soon. “We do not see any end to the flow of people to come in the coming months,” said a spokeswoman.



  • Migrants in Turkey board dinghy for Greece (Reuters)  More than a dozen migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan boarded a rubber boat on the shores of Turkey on Tuesday (August 25), hoping to reach the Greek island of Lesbos. They had paid $1,250 for a seat in the boat, which was packed beyond its capacity. Some of them had been stranded on the beach for the past few days after their dinghy was stolen. Lesbos lies less than 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Turkish coast. It has seen thousands of arrivals in recent months, mostly refugees from the Syrian civil war. The International Rescue Committee said more than two thousand migrants were arriving daily on the Greek island.  In the video (rough cut, no narrative) it appears than more than two dozen people were crowded onto the severely overloaded craft.  Econintersect count is 30.



  • Syria conflict: New 'IS chemical attack' (BBC News)   Islamic State (IS) militants may have used chemical weapons in an attack on a town in northern Syria on Friday.  Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday it had treated four members of a family who suffered from breathing difficulties and developed blisters after a mortar hit their home in Marea.  The Syrian American Medical Society has also reported receiving 50 patients showing symptoms of chemical exposure.  Local rebels say the shells were fired from an IS-held village to the east.  A spokesman for one group, the Shami Front, told the New York Times that half of the 50 mortars and artillery rounds which hit Marea contained sulphur mustard (commonly known as 'mustard gas' - although it is a liquid at normal temperatures - which produces severe skin blistering, respiratory damage, burning of eyes and damages internal organs.


The proposed changes to the constitution -- which has been under review since 2008 following a Maoist insurgency which deposed the country's monarchy -- would federalize the country, dividing it into seven provinces.

Members of the country's Tharu minority have been vocal in their opposition to the plan, which they say would see the group further marginalized. Minorities across the country have been protesting the proposal, demanding their own provinces.


  • Nikkei tumbles 4 percent after wild day of trading (Reuters)  Japanese stocks fell for a sixth consecutive day on Tuesday in a volatile session that saw indexes seesaw between losses and gains before retreating late in the session on worries about China's slowing economy.  The Nikkei share average ended down 4% at 17,806.70 points, its lowest close since Feb. 10 and 15% below its intraday high 23 June.  See latest live interactive chart at

Click for latest liv interactive chart at



  • Deforestation in Mexico butterfly reserve more than triples (Associated Press)  Illegal logging more than tripled in the monarch butterfly's wintering grounds In central Mexico, reversing several years of steady improvements, investigators announced Tuesday.  The forest canopy is a sort of blanket against cold for the masses of orange-and-black butterflies that form huge clumps on tree branches during their winter stay in Mexico.  Loss of that habitat is just one of the threats to the butterflies' amazing migration across Canada and the United States to Mexico. The migration is an inherited trait: No butterfly lives to make the full round trip, and it is unclear how they find the route back to the same patch of pine forest each year. Some scientists suggest the butterflies may release chemicals marking the migratory path and fear that if their numbers fall too low, the chemical traces will not be strong enough for others to follow.  The total population of the Monarch is estimated to be down more than 93 percent over the last 20 years.

The problem now is the overhead supply (Business Insider)  Support levels provide buyers and they have been penetrated.  That leaves the sellers, or what this analyst calls "overhead supply".

The Dragon Economy slows - implications for the UK & the world economy (RBS Slide Show, In)

Click for slide show.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • How Much Income Do Retirees Really Need? (ThinkAdvisor)  The old planning guideline of using 80% of pre-retirement income to project income needs forward for the "golden years" may be convenient but it does not reflect what most people actually do in retirement.  Across all incomes the median spending in retirement is very close the pre-retirement levels (first graph below).  But that overall median hides a large variation across income levels (second graph below).


  • Ohm intelligent car battery refuses to die (giz mag)  Ohm battery is an energy storage and management system in a battery-sized case. Its integrated processor monitors power level and automatically cuts power when the battery drops to a critical level. So if you accidentally leave your lights on, Ohm will shut itself down before going dead and then turn itself back on within about 30 seconds when you start up the car.  And for end-of-life the battery also has a replacement warning system. The system beeps to let you know it's time for replacement, and Ohm says it works more quickly and accurately than the battery warning light on the dashboard.  The battery is the product of Silicon Valley startup Ohm Laboratories.
  • 10 Cheapest States for Retirement Health Care (ThinkAdvisor)  HealthView Services’ advisor- and physician-reviewed methodology projects retirement health care costs based on data from 50 million health care cases.  Costs are for Medicare Part B premiums, Medicare Part D premiums, and supplemental insurance premiums.  Surcharges for exceeding retirement modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) thresholds are not included. Projections reflect costs for a healthy 65-year-old retiring today, living through age 84, totaling 20 years in retirement.  Eight of the ten states are west of the Mississippi River.  The three least expensive states are Maine (3), Vermont (2) and Hawaii (1).  See also next article.
  • 10 Most Expensive States for Retirement Health Care (ThinkAdvisor)  These results were obtained following the same process as in the preceding article.  Seven of the states are east of the Mississippi River.  Two surprises for us:  Neither New York nor California are on this list, but the three other of the 5 most populous states are (Texas - No. 9, Illinois - No. 8 and Florida).  The three most expensive states are Maryland (2), Michigan (2) and Florida (1).

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