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What We Read Today 13 June 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:

  • Microsoft is Buying LinkedIn

  • Adam Smith's Mother is the Real Hero

  • Facebook Has a User Attention Span Problem

  • Trump and Clinton Responses to Orlando Tragedy

  • Trump is Revoking Washington Post Credentials

  • No Clear Evidence of IS Link in Orlando

  • Could Brexit Destroy Western Political Civilization?

  • China's Dismal Investment Growth

  • China Service Sector Cools

  • Obama Giving Up on Closing Guantanamo

  • SCOTUS Refudes to Save Puerto Rico's Debt Restructuring Law

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Trump and Clinton and their very different responses to the Orlando shootings (The Washington Post) Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s first tweet Sunday morning was a fairly measured comment about the deadly mass shooting in an Orlando gay nightclub. “Really bad shooting in Orlando. Police investigating possible terrorism. Many people dead and wounded.”  His second tweet, an hour and a half later, was a return to campaign trail politics — an attempt to falsely recast a verbal attack he made against a disabled journalist.  Then came another, more sympathetic tweet about the Orlando tragedy, followed by one in which he took credit for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” And then Trump went fully on the attack, saying, “Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn’t he should immediately resign in disgrace!”  Trump’s approach to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history posed a sharp contrast to the conventional one of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. She first tweeted a note of concern for the victims; hours later, she issued a statement that sought to address the main issues that the tragedy touched on — terrorism, gay rights and gun control.

  • Trump says he will revoke Washington Post's credentials to cover campaign (Reuters)  Republican Donald Trump said on Monday he will no longer issue press credentials to the Washington Post, stopping the publication from gaining access to press areas at his presidential campaign events.  Trump wrote on Facebook:

"Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post."  

  • Orlando shootings: 'No clear evidence' of IS link (BBC News)   There is no clear evidence that the Orlando gunman was directed by the so-called Islamic State group (IS), US President Barack Obama has said.  But the inquiry into the attack on the Pulse gay night club, in which 49 people were killed, is being treated as a terrorist investigation, he added.  The FBI's director said the gunman was radicalised through the internet.  Meanwhile Donald Trump said he would suspend immigration from certain areas of the world to the US.

  • Does Populism Have to Be This Stupid? (Washington Monthly)   Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, the 2016 campaign has already dramatically undermined a major pillar of post–World War II American economic and foreign policy—free trade.  Hillary Clinton’s current rejection of the same Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement that earlier she had called “the gold standard” of free trade deals is a far cry from her husband’s 1990s embrace of globalization as essentially the same thing as Americanization. Of course, her shift of position is a dramatic indication of how much she is feeling “the Bern,” since he rejects “all the crazy trade deals” of the past forty odd years.  Even more surprising is Donald Trump’s effective capture of the Republican presidential nomination on the basis of trashing the “terrible trade deals” and the free trade doctrine that have long been tenets of the conservative Republican faith.  This column maintains that American trade deals have been more about geopolitical objectives than economic or merchantile goals.  A key statement about the lack of intelligence in the revolt against free trade:

What we really need, however, and haven’t seen from any candidate, is a comprehensive strategy that can both strengthen the American economy and meet our geopolitical needs.


"As a historian I fear Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilisation in its entirety.," 


  • Dismal investment growth in May endangers China’s second-quarter economic outlook, say analysts (South China Morning Post)  Growth in investment continued to deteriorate in China in May and the dismal data may cloud the nation’s economic outlook in the second quarter of the year, according to economists.  Overall fixed-asset investment rose lower than expected at 9.6% in the first five months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. That is much weaker than the increase of 10.5% in the first four months.  Investment from private capital, which accounts for over 60% of overall investment and creates half of all new jobs each year, fared even worse.  It rose only 3.9%, compared with the 5.2% gain in the previous four months.

  • Growth in China’s service sector cools to three-month low, survey suggests (South China Morning Post)  The growth rate in China’s service sector fell to a three-month low in May, according to a survey released on Friday, denting hopes that the nation’s slowing economy is gradually gathering steam.  The Caixin/Markit services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 51.2 last month from 51.8 in April. A reading above 50 signals growth in activity.  Job creation in the service sector rose for the second month in May, but the level of employment remained weak.


  • Obama Administration No Longer Pursuing Executive Order To Shut Down Guantanamo: Report (The Huffington Post)  The Obama administration is not pursuing the use of an executive order to shutter the Guantanamo Bay military prison after officials concluded that it would not be a viable strategy, sources familiar with the deliberations said.  The conclusion, reached by administration officials, narrows the already slim chances that President Barack Obama can fulfill his pledge to close the notorious offshore prison before leaving office in January.  The White House has said repeatedly that Obama has not ruled out any options on the Guantanamo center, which has been used to house terrorism suspects since it was set up in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.  Obama is eager to fulfill his 2008 campaign pledge to close the prison and could still choose to use his commander-in-chief powers, but the option is not being actively pursued, the sources said.  Without executive action, the chances of closing the prison would hinge on convincing a resistant Congress to overturn a long-standing ban on bringing possibly dozens of remaining prisoners to maximum-security prisons in the United States.

Puerto Rico

  • U.S. top court tosses Puerto Rico's debt restructuring law (Reuters)  The Supreme Court on Monday refused to revive a Puerto Rico debt-restructuring law, putting the U.S. territory at risk of a messy default unless Congress this month passes legislation to help the Caribbean island survive its crippling fiscal crisis.  The justices ruled 5-2 that Puerto Rico's 2014 statute, which would have let it cut billions of dollars in debt at public utilities over creditor objections, conflicted with federal bankruptcy law. The justices left in place a 2015 appeals court ruling invalidating the law, called the Recovery Act.  The U.S. House of Representatives last Thursday overwhelmingly passed legislation creating a federal control board to help Puerto Rico cope with its debt, and sent the bill to the Senate for consideration. The White House has urged the Senate to act promptly so President Barack Obama can sign the bill into law ahead of a looming July 1 deadline for Puerto Rico to make a $1.9 billion debt payment.  But the Senate's Republican leaders have not yet revealed their plans for dealing with the legislation.

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

  • Microsoft to buy LinkedIn for $26bn (BBC News)  Microsoft is buying the professional networking website LinkedIn for just over $26 billion in cash.  The software giant will pay $196 a share - a premium of almost 50% to Friday's closing share price.  The deal will help Microsoft boost sales of its business and email software.  Microsoft said that LinkedIn would retain its "distinct brand, culture and independence".  Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, said the deal would give Microsoft access to the world's biggest professional social network with more than 430 million members worldwide.

  • Adam Smith Isn’t the Real Economic Hero — His Mother Is (The Cut)  Last week, Swedish journalist Katrine Marçal's book Who Cooked Adam's Smith's Dinner? was released in the U.S. after a year in print in Europe. The goal of her book is to topple Adam Smith's idea of the "economic man," which he summed up in Wealth of Nations with the quote, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." But that formulation does not work, Marçal argues, without the tireless invisible labor of the other half of the world: women.

  • Facebook Is Losing Ground (Seeking Alpha)  Users are spending less time on Facebook using the mobile Android app than a year ago.  Why is that important?  Time is money.  But the same is true for major competitors, such as Snapchat and Twitter, as well as Facebook's other major presence, Instagram.


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