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What We Read Today 13 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:

  • Nobel Laureate Lloyd Shapley has Died, Age 92

  • Why Stock Buybacks are Deflationary to the Broad Economy

  • Things are Better When Women Own Land

  • Mosquitoes are Conquering the World

  • Robert Rubin was Referred to Justice for Investigation and Nothing was Done

  • U.S. Ill-Equipped to Deal with Drug Trafficking and Migration

  • Trump and Sanders Go to War

  • Europe's About Face on Refugees

  • Merckel's Party Takes a Drubbing

  • Another Deadly Car Bomb in Turkey

  • China Manufacturing Activity Measured from Space

  • North Korea H-Bomb Threat to Destroy New York

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Global

As the world focuses on Zika's rapid advance in the Americas, experts warn the virus that originated in Africa is just one of a growing number of continent-jumping diseases carried by mosquitoes threatening swathes of humanity.

The battle against the insects on the streets of Brazil is the latest in an ancient war between humankind and the Culicidae, or mosquito, family which the pests frequently win.

Today, mosquito invaders are turning up with increasing regularity from Washington DC to Strasbourg, challenging the notion that the diseases they carry will remain confined to the tropics, scientists documenting the cases told Reuters.

Ironically, humans have rolled out the red carpet for the invaders by transporting them around the world and providing a trash-strewn urban landscape that suits them to perfection.

U.S.

  • Robert Rubin Was Targeted for DOJ Investigation by Financial Crisis Commission (Fortune)  The release of the archives of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which completed its work five years ago, finds a disturbing fact:  The FCIC made a referral to the Department of Justice of suspected criminal activity by former U.S. Treasury Secretary and retired major bank executive Robert Rubin.  This article says that Rubin was one of a small number of top bank officials referred to the Justice Department.  There is no evidence given in this article that the Obama administration took any action of the Rubin referral (or any other) whatsoever.  See next article.

  • Philip Angelides Wants Top Bank Officials Charged (John Lounsbury, GEI News)  The release of the archives was likely among the factors that prompted FCIC Chair Philip Angelides to wrote an open letter in February:

Philip Angelides, Chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) which issued an official report in January 2011,has written a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice challenging U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to prosecute senior bank executives before the statute of limitations on their crimes expires.

  • U.S. forces ill-equipped to stop illegal drugs, migrants: admiral (Reuters)  U.S. forces responsible for disrupting the flow of illegal drugs and migrants to the United States lack the airplanes and ships needed to perform their mission at the level set by the Pentagon, a top U.S. admiral said on Thursday.  Admiral Kurt Tidd, head of U.S. forces operating in Central and South America, told lawmakers the goal was for U.S. forces to interdict 40 percent of the illegal traffic moving from the region toward the United States.  Asked if he had the resources he needed to achieve that aim, Tidd said "the simple fact of the matter is we do not".

  • TRUMP LOSES: Your Complete Saturday Voting Results and Delegate Count Guide (RedState.com)  Yesterday contests took place in Wyoming and Washington, D.C. And in both, Donald Trump lost. And not by a little. Here’s the delegate count results as they stand at the time of this posting:

The Day: So RedState puts the total delegates at:

  • SEN. MARCO RUBIO: 11

  • SEN. TED CRUZ: 10

  • GOV. JOHN KASICH: 9

  • DONALD TRUMP: 1

  • Trump digs in after weekend violence: 'I'm just the messenger' (Reuters)  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump refused to take responsibility on Sunday for clashes that have erupted at his campaign events, saying he was not inciting violence but giving voice to the anger of his supporters. The real estate tycoon used a round of television appearances to beat back furious criticism from Republican rivals and Democrats alike that he was encouraging discord with divisive language disparaging Muslims and immigrants.  Trump said on NBC's Meet the Press:

"I don't accept responsibility. I do not condone violence in any shape." 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has faulted Donald Trump for the disruption Friday night’s Chicago rally, denying that his campaign had organized the protest against it.

Sanders issued a stinging rebuke on Saturday to the Republican presidential front-runner for noting that some of the protesters that disrupted Trump’s rally “represented Bernie, our communist friend."

The Democratic presidential candidate interpreted the remark as insinuating that he or his campaign had been directly involved in the protest.

“As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar,” Sanders said.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump threatened Sunday to send his supporters to infiltrate the campaign rallies of Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders, who Trump continued to insist was behind disruptions at his events.

EU

  • From 'welcome' to 'enough' _ Europe's migrant view shifts (Associated Press)   Last fall, soccer fans celebrated refugee children at a legendary Munich stadium; today, European voters are boosting anti-immigrant political parties and governments are closing their gates to new arrivals. The refrain of Europe's migrant crisis has changed from "welcome" to "enough already."  Has Europe suddenly turned heartless? Or is it just waking up to the reality that it has failed to collectively manage this drama?  Yves Pascouau, a migration expert at the European Policy Center:

    "It is not sustainable anymore that no one's playing a common game.  We need to fix this and really need to move ahead."

    But not all Europeans see this as a problem they must share. Worried about their own weak  economies, concerned that their national values are eroding, many say war in the Middle East and poverty in Africa are someone else's responsibility.

Germany

  • Merkel's party suffers drubbing in German state votes (Reuters)   Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives lost out in two out of three regional state elections on Sunday as Germans gave a thumbs-down to her accommodating refugee policy with a big vote for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD).  The poor showing in both Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate represented a worst-case scenario for Merkel, who has staked her legacy on her decision last year to open Germany's doors to over 1 million migrants.  The backlash was also visible in Saxony-Anhalt in former East Germany, where Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) remained the largest party but the AfD grabbed 21.5%.  Turnout in all three states was much higher than in 2011, rising by 5.7 percentage points in Baden-Wuerttemberg, by 9.7 points in Rhineland-Palatinate, and by 11.8 points in Saxony-Anhalt.

Turkey

  • Second car bomb in a month kills 27 in Turkish capital Ankara (Reuters)  A car bomb killed at least 27 people at a crowded transport hub in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Sunday and wounded at least 75 more, the second such attack in the administrative heart of the city in less than a month.  The blast, which could be heard several kilometers away, sent burning debris showering down over an area a few hundred meters from the Justice and Interior Ministries, a top courthouse, and the former office of the prime minister.  One senior security official told Reuters initial findings suggested the attack had been carried out by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) or an affiliated militant group, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

China

  • Hedge Funds Look to Space With New China Economy Gauge (Bloomberg)   San Francisco-based SpaceKnow Inc. has launched the China Satellite Manufacturing Index, or SMI, based on analysis of thousands of photos taken from commercial satellites.  It's the latest way to get a read on China's economic pulse.  And it has been tracking closely with one of two PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) manufacturing surveys - the one that is not reported by the Chinese government.

china.mfg.indexes.2013.2016.feb

North Korea

  • North Korea claims it could wipe out Manhattan with a hydrogen bomb (The Washington Post)   North Korea claimed Sunday that it could wipe out Manhattan by sending a hydrogen bomb on a ballistic missile to the heart of New York, the latest in a string of brazen threats.  Although there are many reasons to believe that Kim Jong Un’s regime is exaggerating its technical capabilities, the near-daily drumbeat of boasts and warnings from North Korea underlines its anger at efforts to thwart its ambitions.


This Is STILL The Worst Possible Environment For Stock Market Investors (The Fielder Report)  The latest Z.1 data was released last week showing that, as of the end of the year, the stock market was still very overvalued, investors were still overly bullish and the S&P 500 was still very overbought relative to its long-term regression trend. In other words, this is still the worst possible environment for equity investors.  The first chart below is from this article.  The second and third charts are from http://www.multpl.com/.  For definition of the Shiller PE see Cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (Wikipedia).

market.cap.gdp.2016.mar

sp500.pe.ratio.1870.2016.mar

shiller.pe.1870.2016.mar

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

  • Lloyd Shapley, a Nobel laureate in economics, has died (The Economist)  Mathematician Lloyd Shapley shared a Nobel Prise in economics with economist Alvin Roth, who applied Shapley's mathematical solution for optimal pairings to economic situations.  Econintersect:  As we understand it, the solution and the applications require ever increasing time to reach optimal pairing as the number of potential pairs increases.  Also, optimal configurations in a large economic system may not involve pairings, but much larger combinations.  Thus this shoudl be considered only in microeconomics and not applied to macro. And failure to recognize the disconnect between micreconomic observations and macro systems has been a defect in economics for some time.  Whether any of the shortcomings we have mentioned here have resulted from extensions of the wotk of Shapley and Roth we do not know.

  • The economics of buy backs (The Courier)  The author describes how share buybacks are inflationary for asset prices (stocks) and deflationary for the rest of the economy.

  • Le Pen To Bernie: Anger Economics Drives Populist Surge (WorldCrunch)  Rising populism in the West can be traced to continuing fallout from the 2007-08 financial crisis. The responses – from both left and right – share certain fundamental arguments.  Lower income people resent that they bear the burden of the Great Financial Crisis while the elite continue to build wealth and incomes.

  • Poverty, child marriage, violence decline when women own land: World Bank (Hurriyet Daily News)  When women have rights to land, argues Klaus Deininger, a lead economist and organizer of this week’s World Bank conference, children’s health and education improves, household resources increase and there are fewer child brides as daughters do not need to be married off young for financial reasons.  Equally, women with land rights tend to have savings accounts, a factor that reduces domestic violence. 


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