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What We Read Today 28 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:

  • Is There Wisdom in Crowds?

  • Will the Right-Wing Wipe Out Laissez-Faire Economics?

  • Is Brexit a Historic Investment Opportunity?

  • VIX and the S&P 500 are Moving in the Same Direction.  WTF?

  • New Benghazi Report

  • Democrats Block Zika Funds

  • Five Models for a Post-EU UK

  • Mad Cow Disease and Brexit Vote (We Detect a Hoax)

  • Berlin Will Raid London's IT Resources

  • Istanbul Airport Suicide Mission Kills 28

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


1. The State Department failed to protect our diplomats in Libya

2. The CIA missed warning signs

3. The Defense Department failed to rescue Americans in time

4. The Obama administration "stonewalled" the investigation

5. A Clinton aide influenced the State Department's review

  • Zika funds fail in Senate as Democrats decry ‘poison pills’ (LifeHealthPro)  Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked Republicans’ plan to partially fund President Barack Obama’s request for funding to tackle the Zika virus and attach it to other items Democrats dismissed as partisan, setting off a bitter round of sniping ahead of the July 4th recess.  Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas called Democrats "sore losers" and said they, not Republicans, will pay a political price for blocking the $1.1 billion Zika funding package, which was to be attached to a funding bill for veterans and military construction.  Among the items Democrats objected to were limits on family-planning services, which Democrats called a "back door" cut to Planned Parenthood; a suspension of Clean Water Act rules on use of some pesticides without EPA approval; funding for veterans that was $500 million below what the Senate passed; and the deletion of a provision sought by Democrats to stop flying the Confederate battle flag at veterans’ cemeteries.

  • Pat Summitt, winningest coach in D1 history, has died at 64 (Associated Press)  Another tragic incidence of a great life terminated by Alzheimer's Disease.

  • 7 states where more people get thyroid cancer (LifeHealthPro)  Thyroid cancer is a cause of medical, disability, long-term care and death risk that seems to be becoming more common in the United States, and no one is sure why.  The seven states with the highest rates of thyroid cancer are all in the northeast, except for  Utah (#3).


  • Five models for post-Brexit UK trade (BBC News)  After the UK voted to leave the EU, the country faces the prospect of having to establish new trade relationships - both with the remaining 27 EU members and other countries around the world.  As a member of the EU, the UK has been included in trade deals the EU has negotiated. There are 22 trade agreements between the EU and individual countries, and five multi-lateral agreements covering multiple countries.  This means that if the UK wants to retain preferential access to the markets of the 52 countries covered by these agreements, it would have to renegotiate trade deals with all of them.  Among the modles to be considered are those from Canada and Norway.

  • History Repeats (Facebook)  Econintersect:  Was this visual doctored?



  • Brexit: Berlin eyes Britain’s tech talent (BBC News)  Over the weekend, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel was hurriedly convening a meeting of European leaders to assess the aftermath of Britain's choice to leave the EU, Cordelia Yzer was on the phone.  The Berlin Senator for Economics and Technology was not chatting to fellow politicians, but with start-ups and global funds, who, in the wake of Brexit, are now considering Germany's capital as their base.  She said today:

"Those companies who have headquarters in London are aware that they need to be in the EU.  We had competition in the last two or three years between London and Berlin. I am convinced that more funds will now make the decision in favour of Berlin.  We will now take advantage [of Brexit]. And this is more than fair."


  • Istanbul Ataturk airport attack: At least 28 dead and dozens injured (BBC News)  A gun and suicide bomb attack on Istanbul's Ataturk international airport has killed at least 28 people and injured up to 60.  Up to three attackers were involved, with one reportedly opening fire with a Kalashnikov as they targeted an entry point to the terminal.  Recent bombings in Turkey have been linked to either Kurdish separatists or the so-called Islamic State group.  Tuesday's airport attack looks like a major, co-ordinated assault, says the BBC's Mark Lowen at the scene.  Ataturk airport was long seen as a vulnerable target, our correspondent says. There are X-ray scanners at the entry to the terminal but security checks for cars are limited.

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

It intrigued me that committees making important decisions in many areas of life are typically quite small,” Galesic told R&D Magazine in an exclusive interview. “For example, in most countries jury sizes range from six to 15 people; central bank boards from five to 12; and parliamentary committees in the U.S., EU, and Australia 20-40. In private lives, people rarely consult more than five or six friends about important issues.”

As a result, the team’s research postulates that larger crowds do not always produce wiser decisions. Instead, when it comes to qualitative decisions such as “which candidate will win the election” or “which diagnosis fits the patient’s symptoms,” moderately-sized ‘crowds,’ about five to seven persons, are likely to outperform larger ones. According to the study, in the real world, these smaller crowds manifest as physician teams making medical diagnoses; top bank officials forecasting unemployment, economic growth, or inflation; and panels of election forecasters predicting political wins.

  • The Anger Wave That May Just Wipe Out Laissez-Faire Economics (The New York Times)  The attack on the belief that markets are the best way to determine how an economy should proceed is coming from an unexpected direction:  From the right.  Boris Johnson in the UK and Donald Trump in the U.S. (see next article) are running campaigns based on restricting markets and other world leaders, especially in Europe and the U.S., have implemented policies based on austerity, which discourages market activities.  The New York Times, which has not been a beacon for Reaganism and Thatcherism, is not celebrating, though.  This column concludes:

"There are less catastrophic ways to put an end to an era."

  • Trump Speech Repudiates 30 Years of Republican Thinking on Trade (Bloomberg)  In a matter of minutes on Tuesday, Donald Trump set fire to 30 years of Republican orthodoxy on trade.  He ripped a pending agreement with Pacific Rim trading partners and vowed to renegotiate the long-standing accord the U.S. has had with Mexico and Canada. In his strongest campaign trade comments to date, Trump made a clear break with his party, which for decades has stood behind the business interests that supported a freer flow of goods and services across borders.

  • A 'historic' investing opportunity and other post-Brexit tips for the long term (CNBC)  The stunning Brexit move in Europe has led to plenty of fear and lots of speculation on where the best quick trades can be made.  But what about investors playing the long game — those with horizons that run three to five years rather than three to five minutes (or seconds)?   Read article at CNBC and/or watch video:

  • Ancient 'Deep Skull' from Borneo Full of Surprises (R&D)  A new study of the 37,000-year old remains of the "Deep Skull" - the oldest modern human discovered in island South-East Asia - has revealed this ancient person was not related to Indigenous Australians, as had been originally thought.  The Deep Skull was also likely to have been an older woman, rather than a teenage boy.  The research, led by UNSW Australia Associate Professor Darren Curnoe, represents the most detailed investigation of the ancient cranium specimen since it was found in Niah Cave in Sarawak in 1958.  Prof. Curneo:

"We've found that these very ancient remains most closely resemble some of the Indigenous people of Borneo today, with their delicately built features and small body size, rather than Indigenous people from Australia."

  • The fear index is sinking even as stocks jitter—here’s why (CNBC)   Even as markets quake, the market's fear index is sighing in relief.  Through midday Tuesday trading, the CBOE Volatility Index has fallen some 23% on the week, logging back-to-back declines on Monday and Tuesday. This drop in the so-called "fear gauge" comes even as the S&P has slipped an additional 0.8% on the week, following Friday's post-Brexit sell-off.  Normally VIX and the S&P 500 move in opposite directions.

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