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What We Read Today 08 December 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


  • COP21: Hopes rise as EU forms alliance to push for deal (BBC News)   The European Union has formed an alliance with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in a final push for agreement at the climate summit COP21.  The new alliance has agreed a common position on some of the most divisive aspects of the proposed deal.  They say the Paris agreement must be legally binding, inclusive and fair - and be reviewed every 5 years.  The EU will pay €475 million ($522 million) to support climate action in the partner countries up to 2020.  The alliance has also agreed that the Paris text must include a "transparency and accountability system" to track nations' progress on their climate pledges, and share best practice.

  • Is ISIS trying to start World War III? (CNBC)  Radical Islamic leaders have suggested that killing Americans and their allies, whether civilian or military, is an obligation of every Muslim. The Islamic State is driven by an ideology of hatred and destruction and its actions suggest that it wants a third world war between infidelity and Islam. To this end, it appears that ISIS is trying to lure the U.S. into deploying a large ground force in Syria and Iraq — so it can kill more Americans.


  • Experts: Trump’s Muslim entry ban idea ‘ridiculous,’ ‘unconstitutional’ (The Washington Post)  Trump's proposal would violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and the First Amendment’s doctrine of freedom of religion.  The argument that it would apply only to those now outside the U.S. is also on shaky ground because it would break many principles of international law and agreements the U.S. has signed with other nations.

  • Poll: Donald Trump nearly doubles lead in New Hampshire (CNN)  )Donald Trump has a growing lead among likely primary voters in New Hampshire, and both he and Marco Rubio have gained ground in the state since September, according to a new CNN/WMUR poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.  Overall, 32% say they support Trump (up 6 points since September), with Rubio a distant second place with 14% (up 5 points). That 18-point lead is almost double the 10-point lead Trump held in September over businesswoman Carly Fiorina.

  • Senator Cruz introduces bill to let states reject refugees (Reuters)   Senator Ted Cruz, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2016, said on Tuesday that he introduced legislation to give governors the ability to opt out of refugee resettlement programs.  Cruz said that if President Barack Obama wanted to send refugees to any state, his legislation would let its governor refuse to participate,

"to conclude that the federal government has not done a sufficient job ensuring that the safety and security of the citizens of the state will be protected."

After every U.S. census, states redraw the boundaries of their congressional districts to account for changes in population. This sets off a decennial exercise in partisan gamesmanship, with Democrats and Republicans seeking to alter the lines to their advantage.

Lawsuits inevitably follow. Since new maps were drawn before the 2012 election, courts have weighed in on them in 22 states. Five years after the census and less than a year away from the 2016 election, five states are still waiting on judges to determine the fate of their districts. Their decisions could help Democrats chip away at the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

One of the most acrimonious redistricting fights in the nation came to an end on Wednesday, when Florida's Supreme Court replaced the Republican-drawn congressional map with one that shakes up all but three districts in the state. The Court said Republican lawmakers violated a 2010 constitutional amendment, overwhelmingly approved by voters, that prohibited legislators from drawing districts to favor incumbents or to benefit one party over another. Under the court-ordered map, three districts currently held by Republicans will now be more evenly split politically or lean Democratic — and one Democratic seat will lean Republican. 

  •  The brothers Farook: one a decorated veteran, the other a killer (Reuters)   One brother liked to party and chase girls. After high school, moved by what he saw as his patriotic duty, he enlisted in the Navy and received two medals recognizing his contributions to "the global war on terror."  The other was deeply religious and became increasingly intolerant, ultimately nursing a growing hatred that led him, along with his wife, to open fire on a San Bernardino holiday party last week, in what law enforcement officials have termed a terrorist attack.  Syed Raheel Farook and his younger brother Syed Rizwan Farook grew up in the same house, attended the same high school two years apart and, as teenagers, often socialized in the same groups. But as they grew older their paths diverged.  Rizwan is now dead, gunned down by police in Southern California after joining with his wife in killing 14 people and injuring 21. Raheel is alive and left to wonder what went wrong.

  • On Capitol Hill, the United States is a very, very white place (The Washington Post)  People of color make up 36% of the U.S. public and 28% of those old enough and eligible to vote in the United States, but they are included in just 7.1% of all senior-level Senate staff, according to the study. And those figures are scarcely better than they were a decade ago, when people of color made up 6% of the entire Senate staff.  For more see Racial Diversity Among Top Senate Staff (Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies).


  • The Latest: EU nations balk at Turkey refugee fund (Associated Press)  A little over a week after promising €3 billion ($3.3 billion) for Syrian refugees in Turkey, European Union member countries are balking at the sums the EU expects them to pay.  Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna chaired talks between EU finance ministers on Tuesday and said European Commission has been called back to the drawing board "to review certain elements of the budget."


  • Germany: 965,000 migrants registered through November (Associated Press)  The number of people registered as asylum-seekers in Germany this year hit 965,000 by the end of November, well above a forecast for the whole year that was made less than four months ago, the country's interior minister said Monday.  Some 206,000 new arrivals were registered in November.


  • Turkish leader's son denies Russian allegations of Islamic State trade (Reuters)   The son of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has denied Russian allegations that he and his family were profiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq.  Russia's defense ministry said last week it had proof that the Erdogan family was benefiting from this trade. Turkey has already dismissed the accusations and the president's son Bilal added his voice to the many denials.  He was quoted in Corriere della Sera newspaper, talking about his own corporate concerns, which have been called into question by Russian media:

"We build offices in Istanbul ... We do not do business in the Mediterranean, in Syria or Iraq."


  • IS conflict: Iraqi forces 'retake key Ramadi district' (BBC News)   Iraqi government forces have recaptured a key district in the city of Ramadi, which is controlled by the jihadist group Islamic State, according to Iraqi officials.  The Counter-Terrorism Service said it had cleared the south-western area of Tamim on Tuesday after a fierce battle.  Soldiers and militiamen have been preparing for months for a final assault on Ramadi, and recently told residents to leave the city center.  Ramadi was captured by IS in May in an embarrassing defeat for the Iraqi army.


  • U.S. conducting 'serious review' of alleged Iran missile test (Reuters)  The United States is reviewing and seeking to confirm reports that Iran launched a ballistic missile last month in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said on Tuesday.

Multiple Jobholders: Two Decades of Trends as of November (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives)  At present, multiple jobholders account for around five percent of civilian employment. The survey captures data for four subcategories of the multi-job workforce, the current relative sizes of which are illustrated in a pie chart below. The distinction between "primary" and "secondary" jobs is a subjective one determined by the survey participants.  Multiple job holders as a percentage of total employment have declined by more than 20% since the late 1990s - see second graphic below.


Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Why 2015’s surprisingly lower carbon emissions may still not be good news in Paris (The Toronto Star)  Hat tip to Lorne Warwick, Newsana)   A new study has found that global CO2 emissions have virtually halted and may even fall — ever so slightly — by the end of this year, an unexpected and welcome outcome during a time of sustained economic growth.  But don’t get too excited, warned the U.S., European and Australian researchers who authored the report. Speaking to reporters Monday from the floor of the Paris climate talks, they stopped short of declaring that the amount of carbon dioxide world economies release into the atmosphere each year has finally peaked.  According to co-author Glen Peters, from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway, looking at the emission-reduction commitments countries made in advance of the UN summit:

“2015 is a bit anomalous.  You wouldn’t expect a global peak until 2030 or later.”

  • Morgan Stanley Takes $150 Million Charge, Said To Cut 1,200 Jobs (Financial Advisor)  Morgan Stanley will take a severance charge of about $150 million in the fourth quarter as the company pares back its fixed-income trading business to improve profitability.  The charge will cover the cost of cutting 1,200 workers worldwide, including about 470 traders and salespeople in its fixed-income and commodities business, according to a person briefed on the matter. That amounts to 25% of Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income trading staff, with other reductions coming in infrastructure and support roles

  • Trump’s Muslim Golf Partner Draws Line Between Business And Rhetoric (Bloomberg)  One of Donald Trump’s Middle Eastern business partners is drawing a line between the presidential candidate and his company.  Damac Properties Dubai Co., which is building two Trump-branded golf courses outside of Dubai, distanced itself from the developer, who said Monday the U.S. should ban Muslims from entering the country in the wake of a mass shooting that officials say was an act of terrorism by a radicalized Muslim couple.  Damac said in a statement:

“We would like to stress that our agreement is with the Trump Organization as one of the premium golf course operators in the world.  As such, we would not comment further on Mr. Trump’s personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene.”

  • Investors Unchain Themselves From ETFs as Stock Volume Surges (Bloomberg)   Individual stocks are hot again, with investors eschewing passive strategies and piling into single shares at the fastest pace in five years. It’s the latest sign of calm returning to the equity market after last August’s meltdown.  Among Standard & Poor’s 500 Index constituents, about 2.3 billion shares have changed hands each day since early November, compared with 106 million a day in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, the biggest such security tracking the benchmark gauge. The ratio between the two has almost doubled since reaching a four-year low in September and on Nov. 30 hit 24, the highest level in almost six years.




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