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What We Read Today 07 July 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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Topics today include:

  • Mall Vacancy Rates Historically High Reflecting Growth of Online Retail

  • Why You Should (and Should Not) Invest in Bitcoin

  • Paranoid Schizophrenic Brent Crude

  • Why This Crude Pullback Looks More Dangerous than Previous Ones - and Why it Doesn't

  • FBI Chief Comey Rejects GOP Attacks

  • GOP Senators:  Revoke Security Clearances for Clinton and Her Staff

  • More Police Shootings and Reactions

  • Britain:  The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

  • Next UK PM Will Be a Woman

  • Italian Banks Could Bring Down the EU

  • Russia's Tartar Problem

  • Watch U.S. Diplomat "Attack" Russian Policeman on Russian TV

  • China's FX Reserve Outflow Stops

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • FBI Chief Rejects Republican Attacks on His Clinton Decision (Bloomberg)  FBI Director James Comey defended his recommendation against pursuing criminal charges for Hillary Clinton over her use of private e-mail while secretary of state, testifying before Congress as he faced an onslaught of criticism from Republicans.  The FBI chief, who has been a registered Republican in the past but said Thursday that’s no longer the case, said the investigation was conducted by people who didn’t “give a hoot about politics” and performed their work in “an apolitical and professional way”.  Comey told the House Oversight Committee Thursday at a hastily called hearing in Washington:

“The appropriate resolution of this case was not to bring a criminal prosecution.  I know the Department of Justice and I know no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case."

  • GOP senators: Revoke security clearances for Clinton and her staffers (The Hill)  Ten Republican senators are urging Secretary of State John Kerry to revoke the security privileges of Hillary Clinton and close staff members after the FBI’s report that Clinton was careless in her handling of classified information while at the State Department.

  • Police shooting of man near Minneapolis sparks outrage (Reuters)  A police officer fatally shot a black man during a traffic stop near Minneapolis and the victim's girlfriend posted live footage of the bloody aftermath to Facebook, sparking immediate outrage and a call by the state governor for a federal investigation.  Video below contains gruesome images.  There was a young child in the car.

  • Obama: 'All Americans should be deeply troubled' by police shootings (The Hill)  President Obama said Thursday he shares the “anger, frustration, and grief that so many Americans are feeling” about this week’s police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota. 

  • College Financial Chiefs Are White Men Who Want to Retire Soon (Bloomberg)  Business officers at U.S. universities are predominately white men earning $150,000 to $300,000 who plan to retire in three years or less -- and many of the institutions don’t have a succession plan in place, according to a new survey.  Also found is that women lag behind men in the same jobs here, as is the case in many positions up and down the compensation scale.



  • The Italian job (The Economist)  Italy’s teetering banks will be Europe’s next crisis.  Amid stagnation and deflation, Italy’s banks are in deep trouble, burdened by some €360 billion ($400 billion) of souring loans, the equivalent of a fifth of the country’s GDP. Collectively they have provisioned for only 45% of that amount. At best, Italy’s weak banks will throttle the country’s growth; at worst, some will go bust.

  • Los bancos europeos cerca de perder los mínimos de 2011. (Top Noticas)  European banks have fallen to levels not seen since the worst days of the debt crisis in the region as the uncertainty surrounding the Italian authorities intensified.



  • Special Report: Crimea Tatars endure second tragedy under Russian rule (The Telegraph)  Two years after Russia seized their historic homeland from Ukraine, the Tatars are now the target of an escalating campaign of repression mounted by their new overlords.  There were 210,000 Tatars deported from Crimea in the penultimate year of the Second World War. In the space of three days from 18 May 1944, every last Tatar – man, woman and child – was rounded up in towns and villages across Crimea and herded onto sealed trains, which transported them for 2,000 miles to the barren steppe of Uzbekistan.  This mass expulsion, amounting to Stalin’s vengeance for the Tatars’ alleged collaboration with Nazi invaders, was commemorated in the unlikely setting of the Eurovision song contest in Stockholm in May.  Jamala, a Ukrainian performer of Tatar origin, won the prize with “1944”, a song about her ancestors’ tragedy.  The Tatars lived in exile in Uzbekistan until the late 1980s when Mikhail Gorbachev allowed the survivors and their descendants, 235,000 strong, to return to Crimea.  Note:  There is an animated version of the graphic below in the Telegraph article.


  • Fight between police officer and US diplomat broadcast on Russian TV (The Guardian)  Russian television has broadcast video footage of what it said was a Russian police officer and a US diplomat wrestling on the steps of the US embassy in Moscow.  Reports of the incident had emerged late last month. The Washington Post newspaper, citing US diplomats, said an embassy employee had been attacked on 6 June by the police officer. Russian officials said the diplomat had attacked the policeman.  The nighttime footage, from what appeared to be a closed circuit television camera across the street from a side entrance into the embassy compound, shows a yellow taxi pulling up and a man jumping out of the front passenger door.  He moves purposefully towards the entrance, but after he has taken about three steps the door of a police sentry box in front of the entrance swings open.  Econintersect:  Video below shown on Russian TV shows "man attacking police officer".



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

Click for larger image from Calculated Risk.

  1. Tax situation is a mess

  2. Hard to invest at scale

  3. Extreme volatility

  4. Competing currencies

  5. Difficult to understand

  6. New normal going back to the old normal

  • Chart:  Brent Crude (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look, Twitter)  Brent crude is displaying characteristics of schizophrenic paranoia.

  • Brent Crude Drops Below Brexit Lows (Twitter)  Current action is similar to previous pullbacks this year.  Key question:  Is this time different?  Econintersect:  We have added pullback anotations to the graphic.  This pullback is longer and more volatile than the previous ones.  But is does not show as weak (down sloping) support line.


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