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 dayin the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).
Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world
America Is Hitting the Road Again (The New York Times) Lower gasoline prices are luring Americans to spend more time on the road. Last year Americans drove a record 3.15 trillion miles, many of them on en route to national parks, entertainment meccas and other tourist attractions. See next article.
Vehicle Miles Traveled: Another Look at Our Evolving Behavior (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives) DS is a regular contributor to GEI. The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.41% month-over-month and 3.2% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is up 0.33% month-over-month and up 2.1% year-over-year. From the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission's Traffic Volume Trends:
"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 5.0% (13.0 billion vehicle miles) for March 2016 as compared with March 2015."
Trump claims Trump University judge has 'absolute conflict' (Associated Press) Donald Trump said that the federal judge presiding over a lawsuit brought by former Trump University students has an "absolute conflict" in handling the case because he is "of Mexican heritage". The presumptive Republican presidential nominee told The Wall Street Journal, in an interview in Friday's edition, that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel has "an inherent conflict of interest" because Trump is "building a wall", a reference to Trump's proposal to build a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. See also Judge Under Fire From Donald Trump Was a Steely Drug Prosecutor (The New York Times).
Forget Brexit – austerity is far worse for the UK economy (The Conversation) The weight of opinion holds that leaving the European Union would be costly for Britain. The latest forecast, from the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies, predicts that austerity measures such as cuts in public services and in the welfare budget would be prolonged in the event of Brexit. Yet, beneath the blur of claim and counterclaim over Brexit, there is a broader critique to be made of the present government’s approach to economic policy and of austerity more generally. The focus on reducing the deficit by cutting public spending is adding to downward pressure on aggregate demand, thwarting economic recovery. This critique remains valid, regardless of Brexit. It also feeds into considerations around the need for reform in the EU that go beyond the present debate over staying in or out of it.
Is France’s bid to ban out-of-hours work email fanciful? (The Conversation) How often do you spend your day going from meeting to meeting, only to settle into an evening tackling an overflowing email inbox? Well, you may wish that you worked in France, where the government has put forward a law that puts an end to out-of-hours emailing. The proposed labour reform plans to introduce the “right to disconnect”. If passed, it will require companies to set standards outlining when staff are not obliged to respond to emails. There are a myriad of problems with late night emails as well as possible consequences of this new law discussed in this article.
Poland plans paramilitary force of 35,000 to counter Russia (BBC News) Poland says it will start recruiting in September for a new 35,000-strong paramilitary defense force because of tensions with Russia. Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said top positions in the Territorial Defense Force had already been decided. The force will have civilian volunteers trained in military skills. It is aimed at countering "hybrid" warfare of the kind that led parts of Ukraine to break away and pledge loyalty to Russia.
Turkey ends security operations near Iraq, Syria border (Associated Press) Turkey's state-run news agency says security operations have ended in two flashpoint districts of the southeast. Anadolu Agency said Friday counter-terrorism operations have ended in the mainly Kurdish towns of Sirnak and Nusaybin. Turkey's southeast has witnessed some of the worst violence in years since the collapse of a truce between Kurdish rebels and the state last summer.
UN Seeks Assad’s Support to Help Syrians He’s Blocked From Aid (Bloomberg) The United Nations wants to airdrop aid to some of the nearly 600,000 civilians trapped by Syria’s civil war. The only catch: President Bashar al-Assad’s government, which has long blocked aid convoys, has to agree. With no end in sight to a civil war that has left an estimated 282,000 people dead since 2011, Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, told a closed Security Council meeting on Friday that consent from the Damascus regime is necessary to carry out the airdrops of food and medicine.
Exclusive: U.S. falters in campaign to revive Iraqi army, officials say (Reuters) A 17-month U.S. effort to retrain and reunify Iraq's regular army has failed to create a large number of effective Iraqi combat units or limit the power of sectarian militias, according to current and former U.S. military and civilian officials. Concern about the shortcomings of the American attempt to strengthen the Iraqi military comes as Iraqi government forces and Shi’ite militias have launched an offensive to retake the city of Falluja from Islamic State. Aid groups fear the campaign could spark a humanitarian catastrophe, as an estimated 50,000 Sunni civilians remain trapped in the besieged town.
Iran leader slams 'fake' BBC report on secret US contact (BBC News) Iran's Supreme Leader has dismissed a BBC report revealing secret contact between late Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and US presidents before the Iranian revolution. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "Britain has always been hostile to us" and the report was "fake". The story was based on newly declassified US government documents from the Cold War. Mr Khamenei suggested they were forged. The original report revealed how Ayatollah Khomeini had courted the Carter administration from exile in Paris to broker his return to Iran. In the official Iranian narrative of the 1979 revolution, Mr Khomeini bravely defied the United States and defeated "the Great Satan" in its efforts to keep the Shah in power.
Mount Everest: Six confirmed dead as this year's climbing season ends (CNN) Six people died during this year's climbing season on Mount Everest, officials said Friday. The body of Goutam Ghosh, an Indian mountain climber who went missing on Mount Everest on May 21, was found Sunday, said Wangchu Sherpa, managing director of Trekking Camp Nepal. Econintersect was not able to locate a count of successful summits for the current season.
Brazil’s Exploding Debt-to-GDP Is Going to Become a Problem Soon (Bloomberg) Reining in Brazil’s mammoth budget is no small feat, no matter how good you are. Cut discretionary spending, and risk blowback from an already frustrated electorate. Raise taxes, you could exacerbate the nation’s crushing recession. Privatize government companies? Beware the wrath of the unions. Shrink social security? It’ll take decades to manifest itself on the nation’s balance sheet. And that doesn’t even start to address Brazil’s massive interest tab.
Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea
Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates (U.S. Department of the Treasury) The bond market thought the employment report for May was significant. Note especially the interest rate declines for 1 year out to 7 years: These drops are huge!!! There were 14% plunges for both the 1 year and the 3 year notes.
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