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What We Read Today 02 April 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here

Topics today include:

  • Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong Return to 1999

  • Are Millenials Abandoning Facebook?

  • Steve Wozniak Looks Forward 40 Years

  • Has U.S. Economic Growth Rune Out of Steam?

  • Foreign Fighters Evade Europe's Security Net

  • Syrian Government Forces Lose Ground Near Aleppo

  • Armenian-Azerbaijan Fighting Flares Up

  • China's Manufacturing PMI Comes Up for a Gasp of Air

  • Solar Rooftops in Australia

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Clinton's frustration grows, as primary race drags on (Associated Press)   Hillary Clinton snapped at a Greenpeace protester. She linked Bernie Sanders and tea party Republicans. And she bristled with anger when nearly two dozen Sanders supporters marched out of an event near her home outside New York City, shouting "if she wins, we lose".  "They don't want to listen to anyone else," she shot back. "We actually have to do something. Not just complain about what is happening."  After a year of campaigning, months of debates and 35 primary elections, Sanders is finally getting under Clinton's skin in the Democratic presidential race.

  • Is Economic Growth in Its Final Innings? (Frank Holmes, U.S. Global Investors)  FH has contributed to GEI.  Frank is cautious.  The Commerce Department released economic data last Friday that shows fourth-quarter 2015 corporate profits fell at their fastest rate since—you guessed it—the same period in 2008.  Even though year-over-year GDP growth in the fourth quarter was revised to 1.4%, up from 1 percent, profits tanked a substantial 11.5%. For the entire year, pretax earnings declined 3.1%.  And, while jobs growth has been steady for 72 straight months, jobless claims have been falling and confidence in the labor market is at a nine-year high—but the divergence between profits and employment is something to keep an eye on.


  • Foreign fighters are evading Europe's security net (Associated Press)  Testimony from government ministers, extracts of documents and conversations with police, border and aviation officials reveal a series of security gaps, misunderstandings and procedural red-tape that surrounded the deportation last July of future suicide bomber, Ibrahim El Bakraoui.


  • Nusra Front, Syrian rebels attack government forces near Aleppo, gain ground (Reuters)   Syrian rebels and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front have mounted an offensive against Syrian government forces and on Saturday took a strategic hill south of Aleppo from government control, a monitoring group said.  The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the offensive began on Friday, and Syrian government and allied forces were fighting to take back control of the territory and repel further attacks.  A fragile "cessation of hostilities" truce has held in Syria for over a month as the various parties try to negotiate an end to Syria's five-year-old civil war.  But the truce excludes Islamic State and Nusra Front, and air and land attacks by Syrian and allied forces continue in parts of Syria where the government says the groups are present.

  • Syria's Palmyra: Ghost town bearing scars of IS destruction (Associated Press) Explosions rocked the ancient town of Palmyra on Friday and on the horizon, black smoke wafted behind its majestic Roman ruins, as Syrian army experts carefully detonated hundreds of mines they say were planted by Islamic State militants before they fled the town.  An Associated Press crew visiting the town Friday witnessed firsthand the destruction inflicted by the extremist group on the town's famed archaeological site, less than a mile away from the modern-day town of the same name, now completely deserted.  While some parts of the site, including the Roman-era grand colonnades and amphitheater appeared relatively untouched, the damage was very much visible elsewhere.


  • Dozens dead in worst Nagorno-Karabakh violence for decades (BBC News)   Dozens of people have been killed in clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh.  Armenia said 18 ethnic-Armenian soldiers had died in the fighting, among the worst in two decades.  Azerbaijan said it had lost 12 troops and there were unconfirmed reports of civilian deaths on both sides.  Nagorno-Karabakh has been in the hands of ethnic-Armenian separatists since a war that ended in 1994.  Russia, which has sold arms to both sides, called for an immediate ceasefire and for both sides to exercise restraint.



  • Deep Doubts About China's Buyers (Bloomberg)  China's Anbang Insurance suddenly bowed out of the bidding for Starwood Hotels on Thursday.  It was only the latest in a long string of buyout offers from Chinese companies that collapsed. 

  • China’s March PMI Data Injects Some Optimism (Seeking Alpha)  China’s manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI data for January and February 2016 indicated freefall in economic activity and global financial markets were under stress at the beginning of the year.  However, PMI data for March 2016 serves as a breather for policymakers and investors globally. While several concerns sustain for China’s economy (swelling debt and potential banking sector crisis), the latest PMI data indicates some resilience.  Econintersect:  Two cautions here:  (1) One month does not a trend make;and (2) Don't forget PMI reports opinion surveys, not data.  Thus wait and see and remember opinions are fickle.



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

  • In some circles, the prevailing wisdom is that young users are abandoning Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) in favor of Snapchat (Private:CHAT) and Instagram.

  • A new comScore report calls this pessimism into question. See this chart [below].  Facebook is the blue dot at the top right corner.

  • In the coveted 18-34 year-old demographic, Facebook users spend more than 1,000 minutes per month on the social network. Reach is almost 100%, vs. 63% for Instagram and 38% for Snapchat.


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