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What We Read Today 20 September 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





  • Greek voters return Tsipras to power with strong win (Reuters)   Greek voters returned Alexis Tsipras to power with a strong election victory on Sunday, ensuring the charismatic leftist remains Greece's dominant political figure despite caving in to European demands for a bailout he once opposed.  With about a quarter of votes counted, Tsipras's Syriza party was on course to claim 35.3% of the vote, easily seeing off his main conservative challengers New Democracy on 28.1%.  The interior ministry said that would give him 144 seats in the 300-seat parliament, just five fewer than when he first stormed to power early this year. New Democracy swiftly conceded defeat.  A Syriza source said the party would turn once again to the small right-wing Independent Greeks party to form a coalition, restoring the alliance that first brought Tsipras to power nine months ago.


  • Some Iraqis ditch fight against Islamic State for life in Europe (Reuters)  Some Iraqi soldiers are abandoning their posts and joining a wave of civilian migrants headed to Europe, raising new doubts about the cohesion of the country's Western-backed security forces in the fight against Islamic State militants.  Interviews with migrants and an analysis of social media activity show scores of fighters from the national army, police and special forces as well as Shi'ite militias and Kurdish peshmerga have left in recent months or plan to go soon.  Below, migrants walk north.



  • U.S. and China Seek Arms Deal for Cyberspace (The New York Times)  The United States and China are negotiating what could become the first arms control accord for cyberspace, embracing a commitment by each country that it will not be the first to use cyber weapons to cripple the other’s critical infrastructure during peacetime.

World Markets Weekend Update: India Soars, China Plummets (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives  DS is a regular contributor to GEI.

Six of the eight indexes on our world watch finished in the red this week, a reversal of the eight-up last week, although three of the losses were only fractionally lower at the week's end. India's SENSEX was the top performer, with its 2.38% gain, followed by Hong Kong's Hang Seng, up 1.94%. China's Shanghai Composite was the biggest loser, down -3.20%. Germany's DAX also had a bad week, down -2.05%. 

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

In 2015 I stand by these assertions. Computer and business personnel – through arrogance, selfishness, narrow-mindedness and other issues – have made a mess assuming that business software practices apply to clinical medicine and healthcare IT. In the latter domain, however, increased clinical stress and hypervigilance due to bugs clinicians have to work around (that might have been fixed sooner), lessening their performance and increasing risk, and patient injury and death has been the result of a belief that clinical computing is just a niche area of business computing. (I’ve been making this point for at least 15 years, I might add.)

  • Explainer: what causes cerebral palsy and can it be prevented? (The Conversation)  Cerebral palsy affects one in every 500 people. It refers to a range of movement-related conditions diagnosed in childhood and involving one or both sides of the body. This may cause impaired mobility, muscle stiffness or weakness and/or abnormal or uncontrolled movements.  Children with cerebral palsy often have other neurological impairments such as epilepsy, visual impairment, hearing loss and intellectual disability.  New techniques such as whole-exome sequencing – which looks at the protein-coding part of the genome – have facilitated research into genetic causes of cerebral palsy. Gai McMichael from the University of Adelaide and her team found that in 14% of cerebral palsy cases where DNA was available for study from both parents and the child, there was a gene variant (mutation) that could conceivably explain the condition.  The finding is just the beginning of this story. It has opened up a whole new area of research into the causes of cerebral palsy and possible pathways to prevention and treatment.  For more about cerebral palsy, see next article.
  • Explainer: what is cerebral palsy? (The Conversation)  We know CP is caused by injury to the developing brain, which affects the part of the organ responsible for movement. This injury usually occurs before birth, but we often don’t know the cause.  CP is a life-long condition and can vary in severity from very mild, where people can walk and climb stairs, through to extremely severe, which leaves no independent mobility. People with cerebral palsy usually have a normal lifespan but experience the effects of ageing earlier.  Data is presented for Australia where one in 500 people is afflicted.
  • 5 alien worlds weirder than any we have found so far (New Scientist)  From party planets to egg worlds, astronomers are hunting exoplanets even more bizarre than the ones they have spotted already.  Exoplanets (outside our own solar system) have been found that are gaseous giants in close proximity to their suns, and cold, rocky distant from their suns.  Some even wander our galaxy after escaping from the orbital position around a sum.  And occasionally we have found some in the right temperature zone around their sun that would be compatible with liquid water supported life.  (Subscription required to read full article.)   

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