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What We Read Today 24 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.

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For all those who are celebrating the holiday, Econintersect wishes you all the best for Christmas and the coming New Year.


Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world.  We may have been getting into the holiday season spirit today but we did spend a little time scanning the web for things of interest.


  • Record Warmth Expected Through Christmas Day and Beyond as Mild Weather Pattern Engulfs the East, Midwest (The Weather Channel)   Record-breaking warmth will continue to grip much of the central and eastern states through Christmas Day and into this weekend, continuing what has already been a very mild month in those regions. Several cities in the East will likely see their warmest Christmas Eve or Christmas Day on record.  Record high temperatures have already been set in several Northeast cities Christmas Eve morning, including New York City which hit 70 degrees by 8 a.m., crushing the old daily record high of 63 degrees for Dec. 24. Atlanta, Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island, and Burlington, Vermont are some of the other cities that have set daily record highs early Thursday morning.

  • 11 killed as tornadoes, storms pound Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas (CNN)  A powerful storm system roared across parts of the South, claiming at least 11 lives in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas and injuring scores more.  The Storm Prediction Center said at least 14 tornadoes hit Mississippi on Wednesday, but a single twister did most of the damage.  It started in northern Mississippi and didn't lift up until western Tennessee. The National Weather Service said it may have been on the ground 150 miles.  the Memphis office of the weather service said.

 "If it is continuous it would be the longest track (December) tornado on record here in the mid-South." 


  • Teen Refugee Who Wept at Merkel Remark Wins Longer Stay (The New York Times)  A teenage Palestinian asylum seeker who broke down in tears after a blunt remark from Chancellor Angela Merkel has won permission to stay in Germany for another year.  Germany's Bild newspaper reported that Reem Sahwil and her family had received an extension through March 2017 due to good integration into society. Bild cited unnamed immigration officials in the town of Rostock in northeast Germany.  During a town hall-style meeting in July, Merkel brought the 14-year-old to tears after she said her family had been waiting four years for permanent residence status.  Merkel told her Germany can't accommodate everyone, but outlined her government's desire to speed up asylum applications. Merkel's remark and awkward attempt to comfort the girl was criticized by opposition politicians, but she later said she appreciated Merkel's honesty.


  • Wiretapped calls reveal communication between Turkish officers and ISIS – report (RT)  Hat tip to Marvin Clark.  Turkish officers on the Syrian border have communicated with Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Turkey's Cumhuriyet daily reported, citing an investigation by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's office which allegedly eavesdropped on their phone calls.  The wiretapping reportedly took place last year as part of an investigation into six missing Turkish citizens, the Cumhuriyet reported. The relatives of those missing believed they might have joined the ranks of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants.  An investigation was launched into as many as 27 suspects, some of them in Syria, the report revealed.  The Chief Prosecutor's office reportedly received permission to wiretap the phones of 19 people who were thought to have put the six missing persons in touch with Islamic State. The investigation reportedly revealed that those who wanted to join IS ranks received some form of “ideological training.”  The file on the investigation is said to have been handed over to the Military Prosecutor's office in March, after the Ankara Prosecutor's office deemed the issue outside of its jurisdiction, according to the Turkish newspaper.



  • US-led coalition hit ISIL positions in Ramadi to aid Iraqi attack (Al Jazeera)  U.S.-led coalition air forces pounded positions held by ISIL in Ramadi on Thursday, Iraqi military statements said, in support of government troops seeking to retake the western Iraqi city and push on to drive the fighters from key population centers.  Iraqi government says efforts to take city have been slowed by improvised explosive devices.


  • Modi Meets Putin in Moscow as India Seeks Russian Arms Deals (Bloomberg)  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Vladimir Putin in Moscow with the goal of securing what would be his nation’s biggest weapons deal with Russia since 2001, strengthening military ties dating back to the Soviet era against newer suppliers like the U.S.  Modi and Putin hailed what they termed a “strategic partnership” at their Kremlin meeting on Thursday and pledged to boost business ties, with the Indian leader signaling progress on defense projects to ensure his country upgrades its weapons capability.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  • Reversal of Fortune: ETF Losers that Became Winners (and Vice Versa) (Financial Planning)  Here is a lesson in why looking in the rear-view mirror can be unproductive.  Scanning the exchange-traded product market, this author found 10 funds and notes that posted a minimum of double-digit losses in 2014 and rebounded to at least double-digit gains in the year ending on Dec. 17.  He also gathered those ETFs that were previous top performers, plunging from double-digit gains in 2014 to double digit losses in 2015.

Click to view slide show.

  • 7 predictions about the future of media — by someone who should know (Business Insider)  Mobile is overtaking desktop, social is beating search, on-demand is undercutting TV, messaging apps are challenging email, and everything around us is becoming connected. These shifts in trends can rattle our businesses, our portfolios, and even our lives.  Henry Blodget recently presented a detailed 108-slide presentation on this subject.  Here are the seven key prediction takeaways:

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