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What We Read Today 06 March 2016

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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Topics today include:

  • American Exceptionalism:  Guns

  • Health Savings Accounts Dangers for Retirees

  • Afghans:  The Forgotten Refugees

  • Who Really Won the Iranian Elections?

  • Greece has More than One Migration Problem

  • The World has Too Many Young People

  • Asian Countries are Trouncing the U.S. in Education

  • Public Opinion Polls:  Trump and Clinton have Big Leads In Michigan

  • World's Largest Solar Farm Will Power a Million Homes 24/7

  • What Really Gives You Cancer?

  • Retirees Face Risks with HSAa

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Global

  • The World Has a Problem: Too Many Young People (The New York Times, MSN News)   AT no point in recorded history has our world been so demographically lopsided, with old people concentrated in rich countries and the young in not-so-rich countries.  Much has been made of the challenges of aging societies. But it’s the youth bulge that stands to put greater pressure on the global economy, sow political unrest, spur mass migration and have profound consequences for everything from marriage to Internet access to the growth of cities.  A fourth of humanity is now young (ages 10 to 24). The vast majority live in the developing world.  Already, the number of Indians between the ages of 15 and 34 — 422 million — is roughly the same as the combined populations of the United States, Canada and Britain.

  • Asian countries are taking extraordinary measures to keep students from dropping out — and it's working (Business Insider)  The countries that are far outperforming the U.S. in education have a common factor:  They really do leave no child behind.  Segregation of students based on performance is avoided, resources are added to bring lagging students up to level and common curricula are used throughout regions and countries.

U.S.

  • Poll: Trump, Clinton have big leads in Michigan primaries (USA Today)  A new poll gives front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton big leads in Michigan two days ahead of big primaries there.  Trump has 41% among likely Republican primary voters, followed by Ted Cruz (22%), Marco Rubio (17%) and John Kasich (13%), according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll.  In the Michigan Democratic race, Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 57% to 40% among likely primary voters.

EU

  • Afghans feel forgotten in Europe's migrant crisis (Reuters)  As the European Union and Turkey focus on stemming the flow of Syrian refugees attempting perilous journeys across the Aegean sea to Greece, another migrant community whose numbers are also swelling says it is being overlooked.  Largely denied the chance for legal resettlement in Europe and struggling to find work or support in Turkey, Afghans account for around a quarter of the migrants risking their lives in the small boats leaving Turkey's shore.

  • EU referendum: British exit would be 'poison', says German finance minister (The Guardian)  Wolfgang Schäuble makes case for UK’s continued membership as Boris Johnson hits out at ‘agents of fear’.

A British decision to leave the European Union would be “poison” for the UK, European and global economies that would last for years, the German finance minister has said.

Johnson reasserted his attack over the “scandalous” circumstances in which a senior businessman resigned from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) for expressing a positive view of Britain outside the EU.

Greece

  • Greece struggles to blunt tax impact of Europe's 'Delaware' effect (CNBC)  Already at the heart of one migration crisis, Greece is struggling with another that has gone largely unnoticed, but may create new headaches for the country's battered economy.  Debt troubles and the resulting political and economic turmoil has prompted a growing number of Greek companies to migrate operations to neighboring countries such as Bulgaria and Cyprus, where taxes are a fraction of what they are in Greece. The shift has exacerbated what was already a common occurrence in the Hellenic Republic: Tax evasion, which government officials estimate costs the economy $20 billion in annual revenue.

Iran

To hear some tell it, the vote—for parliament and the Assembly of Experts, a clerical body—was a victory for the forces of moderation, a repudiation of the “hardline” anti-Western policies associated with the allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, maybe even a signal that real democracy could finally take root in the country. On the other hand, the fact that Khamenei’s allies get a veto on who can run for office in the first place invites the counter-narrative that Iran’s political moderates are actually hardliners; less hardline than the hardest hardliners, perhaps, but only at the “moderate” end of a very narrow, very conservative spectrum.

  • Iran billionaire tycoon Zanjani sentenced to death for corruption (AFP, MSN News)  Iran's billionaire tycoon Babak Zanjani has been sentenced to death for corruption, a judicial official said Sunday, after a long trial in which he was accused of fraudulently pocketing $2.8 billion.  Zanjani became notorious during the era of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, finding ways to channel hard currency from oil sales to Tehran despite financial sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic's banks as punishment for its nuclear program.  The 41-year-old was convicted of fraud and economic crimes and as well as facing the death penalty he must repay money to the state, judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie said at his weekly press conference.

Iraq

  • Iraq violence: Dozens dead in Hilla truck bombing (BBC News)  At least 47 people have died after a fuel tanker was blown up at a checkpoint near Hilla, a city south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.  Thirty-nine of the dead were civilians, the rest police, one report said. Dozens were injured in the blast.  The attack happened shortly after noon local time (0900 GMT) while dozens of cars were at the checkpoint.  The so-called Islamic State said it had carried out the attack, in a post on the pro-IS Amaq news agency website.

hilla.map


Gun Violence and Gun Ownership – lets look at the data (Tewksbury Lab)  Another area of American Exceptionalism.  The following graph shows gun violence as a function of gun ownership rates for countries with a very high Human Development Index score.

Click for larger image.
guns.vs.deaths.outliers

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • Interactive body map: what really gives you cancer? (The Conversation)  There’s abundant advice out there on what you should or shouldn’t eat, drink, swallow, or stand next to, to avoid cancer. But it’s often lacking in evidence and the jumble of messages can be confusing.  This body map brings together the evidence on proven cancer causes. Using credible, scientific sources it answers questions about whether alcohol, red meat or sun exposure increase your cancer risk.  Econintersect:  Remember, we can't say what causes cancer, only what increases risk.  It's a question of "macro" statistics and "micro" effects. 

  • Anti-drone device looks straight out of a video game (USA Today)  (Sorry, no direct link available.)  Here is a bazooka-like device which ensnares errant drones.

  • The World's Largest Solar Power Plant Is Now Active In The Sahara (The Huffington Post)  The Noor Ouarzazate, the world's largest solar power plant, has been activated in Morocco and is projected to be finished by 2018. In the video above, learn about the plant, which, when finished, will reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year. The solar plant will cover ten square miles and provide 24/7 electricity to more than 1 million homes using solar thermal power.  The power will replace that produced by 16.6 million barrels of oil a year.  Morocco has pledged to get 40% of its power from renewables by 2020.

  • The innovators: portable solar panels that can be unrolled like a carpet (The Guardian)  John Hingley has developed a ‘micro-grid’ in a metal box that can be used for disaster relief, mining, and even festivals.  Econintersect:  How about recharging your cell phone on Mount Everest?   Or on your local day hike?

  • Dangers lurk within health savings accounts for retirees (Reuters)  Sticky issues arise for HSA account (health savings accounts) holders tied to enrollment in Medicare. The key issue: HSAs can only be used alongside qualified high-deductible health insurance plans. The minimum deductible allowed for HSA-qualified accounts this year is $1,300 for individual coverage ($2,600 for family coverage). Medicare is not considered a high-deductible plan, although the Part A deductible this year is $1,288 (for Part B, it is $166).  So those with HSAs who continue to work after enrolling in Medicare must stop contributing to HSAs or face tax penalties.  They can continue to make withdrawals to pay for deductables.


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