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What We Read Today 29 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


  • As U.S. Focuses on ISIS and the Taliban, Al Qaeda Re-emerges (The New York Times)  Even as the Obama administration scrambles to confront the Islamic State and resurgent Taliban, an old enemy seems to be reappearing in Afghanistan: Qaeda training camps are sprouting up there, forcing the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies to assess whether they could again become a breeding ground for attacks on the United States.  Econintersect:  Welcome to the "whack-a-mole" world.

  • US official: Airstrikes have killed 10 Islamic State leaders (Associated Press)  U.S. and coalition airstrikes killed 10 Islamic State leaders over the past month, including several linked to the Paris attacks or other plots against the West, a U.S. military official in Iraq said Tuesday.  U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren told Pentagon reporters that the militants were killed mainly by drone strikes in Iraq and Syria. He offered few details, but said at least two of those killed were linked to the Paris attacks.

  • This is the new normal for oil: Gartman (CNBC)  As oil continues to sit near multiyear lows, widely followed investor Dennis Gartman says this is just the beginning of a long-term sideways trade in the commodity.


‘[Sikhism] preaches a message of devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality between all human beings, social justice, while emphatically denouncing superstitions and blind rituals.’


  • The New Face of Racism in Germany (The New York Times)  For years, racism and hate in Germany mostly came with clear social markers. In the minds of most, racists wore their heads shaved, feet heavily booted and arms rune-tattooed. They lived on the fringes of society, often in public housing, and made their living illicitly.  But today the face can be that of a well groomed school teacher.  See also Will Germany Succumb to Hate?


  • Putin Sees a Chance for Assad to Stay in Power in Syria (Bloomberg)  Bolstered by its military campaign in Syria, Russia is moving closer to securing a chance for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to extend his rule in elections in 2017 as the U.S. steps up efforts to end almost five years of civil war.  Opposition in Washington is weakening to Russia’s insistence that Assad be allowed to compete in a presidential election after an 18-month transition period that starts next month.


  • The Price of Secularism in Bangladesh (The New York Times)  In support of gender equality, human rights and  civil liberties, a group of bloggers is doing battle with Islamists online — and paying dearly for it, often with their lives.

3 Numbers: Will the 2-Year Treasury yield hold above 1%? (James Picerno, Saxo Group)  JP has contributed to GEI.  The 2-year Treasury yield cracked the 1% barrier again last week. For only the second time in nearly six years, this key maturity on the yield curve—widely seen as the most sensitive for rate expectations—rose above that round number, ticking up to 1.03% at last week’s close, based on daily data from  Staying above the 1% mark, much less rising further, may be difficult, based on the downward revision in the Atlanta Fed’s estimate for fourth-quarter GDP that was released last week.  A 2-year yield above 1% implies that the crowd still expects that the Fed will continue to squeeze policy in 2016 and that growth will remain intact. By contrast, if we see a convincing dip below the 1% mark, it may be time to rethink expectations for monetary policy and the macro outlook … again.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

  1. SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY - ETF report)

  2. iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM - ETF report)

  3. PowerShares QQQ (QQQ - ETF report

  4. iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM - ETF report)

  5. Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE - ETF report)

  6. iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX - ETF report)

  7. iShares MSCI EAFE Index (EFA - ETF report)

  8. iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT - ETF report)

  9. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA - ETF report)

  10. iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI - ETF report)

People are different. They are going to have differences of opinions, they’ll hold different values, and run in different circles. But we expect that our opinions, values and circles should extend to a nation of 350 million people; by brute force if necessary. And until they do we’ll just get on Facebook and sock them in the face until they stay plastered.

On Election Day, the team with the red jerseys will pull on their side of the rope. The team with the blue jerseys will pull on their side of the rope. In the end, both will end up the mud — because they’ve been standing in it all along.

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