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What We Read Today 24 November 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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Notice:  Because of staff vacations (1/2 of our regular staff will be on vacation from now through 02 December) the content of WWRT may vary in quantity from day to day, publication times will vary and some days may be skipped.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


The planned changes include creating a formal process for examiners to express dissenting views on oversight, such as whether lenders are complying with banking rules and appropriately responding to regulators’ requests. The overhaul follows a year-long review that found inconsistency across the Fed’s 12 regional banks tied to supervision practices and reports produced by examiners.

Lawmakers questioned the quality of Fed oversight at Senate hearings last year following complaints by former New York Fed bank examiner Carmen Segarra, who said her ex-employer fired her for refusing to change negative findings about Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The New York Fed oversees several of the largest U.S. banks, including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley.

A white Chicago policeman was charged on Tuesday with murdering a black teenager, a prosecution that was speeded up in hopes of staving off a fresh burst of the turmoil over race and police use of deadly force that has shaken the United States for more than a year.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, was denied bail at a hearing in Chicago's main criminal courthouse hours after top Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez announced charges of first-degree murder. If convicted, Van Dyke could face 20 years to life in prison.

At the brief court hearing, prosecutor Bill Delaney told Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Donald Panarese that a video of the Oct. 20, 2014 shooting does not show Laquan McDonald, 17, who was armed with a knife, advancing on Van Dyke, and that witnesses concur on that fact.


  • Obama and Hollande pledge solidarity against Islamic State  (Associated Press)  In a show of Western solidarity, President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande vowed Tuesday to escalate airstrikes against the Islamic State and bolster intelligence sharing following the deadly attacks in Paris. They called on Russia to join the international efforts, but only if Moscow ends its support for Syria's embattled president.


There have been several incursions by Russian jets into Turkish airspace since Moscow's air campaign in Syria began. Turkey has also shot down Syrian aircraft that intruded across the border.

Ankara has championed its tough rules of engagement, and so nobody could have been in any doubt that if combat aircraft strayed into Turkey again, they might receive a robust response.

But this episode is a little more complicated than that.

Of course, the two sides' accounts differ. Russian President Vladimir Putin insists that the aircraft was not in Turkish airspace and was actually shot down over Syrian territory.

The Turks say the aircraft was warned about entering Turkey several times, and, when it did not change course, was shot down.

The problem is that according to a radar map released by the Turks themselves, the Russian Sukhoi could at best be described as crossing over Turkish territory.

It flew over a small piece of Turkey that projects into Syria - a tiny isthmus of land that would have taken the fast jet only a few moments to fly over.

So if the plane was shot down, as the Turks say, after entering Turkish airspace, you could equally say it was downed on the way out of Turkish territory too.


  • Turkey downing of Russia jet 'stab in the back' - Putin (BBC News)   Russian President Vladimir Putin has bitterly condemned the downing of a Russian jet on the Turkey-Syria border.  He described it as a "stab in the back" committed by "accomplices of terrorists".  Turkey says its jets shot at the plane after warning that it was violating Turkish airspace. But Moscow says it never strayed from Syrian airspace.   NATO held an extraordinary meeting at member Turkey's request to discuss the incident.  Its Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, has said allied assessment of the incident shows that the Russia warplane did fly into Turkish airspace.  One of the two crew members who ejected from the downed plane was killed by fire from the ground, the Russian military said. The fate of the other is unclear.  A Russian soldier was killed when the helicopter he was on came under fire during a search and rescue mission, a spokesman added.  Mr Putin warned there would be "serious consequences" for Moscow's relations with Turkey.


  • Canada to resettle 25,000 refugees by end of February 2016 (Reuters)  The newly elected Liberal government in Canada will resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year and 15,000 more  by the end of February.  The government had previously promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the year's end.  The Liberals committed to bringing the refugees in during the recent election campaign.  CBC News had reported that the federal government will limit the resettlement to women, children and families only.

Counting Backwards To The Next Recession (Antonio Fatas, TalkMarkets)  A common historical indicator of an impending recession has been a flattening of the yield curve wnich is a reduction of the difference between long-term interest rates and short-term.  Fatas has a nice graph which shows the flattening that has occurred since 1982 (we have added trend lines).  He asks the question:  Does the lack of significant flattening in the current business cycle indicate we are likely far from the next recession?  Or is the short-term rate pinned artificially low by Fed policy?  If the latter then a recession might be closer than might be concluded by historical comparisons.


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • The Case for How the Fed Has Already Made Its Policy Mistake (Bloomberg)  The Federal Reserve may already have made a monetary-policy mistake and paved the way for the next U.S. recession.  As some economists such as former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warn the Fed will err if it raises interest rates in December, Paul Mortimer-Lee of BNP Paribas SA is taking a different tack as he argues it may have already blundered by not hiking sooner.

  • Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives)  DS is a regular contributor to GEI.  Several excellent long-term graphs in this article, including the one below.  Here are his comments on this graph:

In addition to improvements in fuel efficiency, the decline in gasoline consumption is attributable in large part to some powerful secular changes in US demographics and cultural in general:

  • We have an aging population leaving the workforce, which we clearly see in the sustained contraction in the employment-population ratio.

  • There is growing trend toward a portable workplace and the ability to work from home.

  • Social media have provided powerful alternatives to face-to-face interaction requiring transportation (Internet apps, games, the ubiquitous mobile phone for talk and texting).

  • There has been a general trend in young adults to drive less (related to points two and three above). See this report at the U.S. PIRG website for details.

  • The US is experiencing accelerating urban population growth, which reduces the per-capita dependence on gasoline.

Click for large image at Advisor Perspectives

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