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What We Read Today 29 October 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:

  • How to Save Social Security

  • The Latest on the New Clinton E-mails Case

  • Latest E-mails Case:  Econintersect - Either Clinton's Career is Over or Comey's Is

  • EU-U.S. Trade Deal is Not Dead

  • France Calls on Britain to Take More Children, Many Already with Families in the UK

  • Shia Militia Take Key Town West of Mosul

  • IS Has Abducted Nearly 8,000 Families Around Mosul, Executed 232 Individuals

  • Russia Loses Seat on UN Human Rights Council to Croatia

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Found emails? Clinton aide didn't delete old messages  (Associated Press)  The longtime Hillary Clinton aide at the center of a renewed FBI email investigation testified under oath four months ago she never deleted old emails, while promising in 2013 not to take sensitive files when she left the State Department.  FBI Director James Comey notified Congress on Friday, less than two weeks before the election, that the emails had led agents to re-examine whether classified information was mishandled. That had been the focus of the bureau's earlier criminal inquiry into the former secretary of state's use of a private email server, which Comey said in July didn't warrant charges.  The newly discovered emails were on a device seized during a sexting investigation of disgraced former New York congressman, Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's closest aides.  Abedin's testimony in a recent civil lawsuit about State Department records may help explain why agents found emails that Comey said:

"appear to be pertinent [and would be reviewed] to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation."

  • Trump pounces on Clinton email woes as her team pushes back (Associated Press)  Clinton said neither she nor her advisers had been contacted by the FBI about the new inquiry.  The news arrived with Clinton holding a solid advantage in the presidential race. Early voting has been underway for weeks, and she has a steady lead in preference polls, both nationally and in key battleground states.  The development all but ensures that, even should she win the White House, the Democrat and several of her closest aides would celebrate a victory a under a cloud of investigation.  Trump leapt on the FBI's disclosure, accusing Clinton of corruption "on a scale we have never seen before".

  • Justice Dept. warned FBI against letter on Clinton emails (The Hill)  FBI Director James Comey went against the wishes of Attorney General Loretta Lynch when he sent a letter to lawmakers Friday notifying them that the agency was reviewing new emails “pertinent” to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.  A government official who requested anonymity to discuss the matter told The Hill that the Justice Department’s stance was to abstain from taking any actions that could impact the presidential race.

  • A look at FBI Comey's decisions in the Clinton email case (Associated Press)  Here is a short but complete summary of the facts.

  • GOP senator questions timing of FBI's Clinton emails review (The Hill)  Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Friday questioned why the FBI is renewing its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server so close to Election Day, speculating that the agency could have evidence of serious wrongdoing.  Cornyn wrote in a series of tweets:

     "Why would FBI reopen Hillary investigation unless there is evidence of more than 'extreme carelessness' in handling classified information?" 

    Econintersect:  There is either (1) something very serious here, damaging Clinton's ability to be president or swinging enough votes to elect Trump or (2) Sayonara Mr. Comey.  If his statement assessing "possible pertinent but not determined yet to be significant" is factual, he has made an extremely careless error should there prove to be nothing of importance there.  Why couldn't he assign agents to review these 1,000 e-mails over a few days and have made any suitable announcement Monday or Tuesday?  The most likely answer to that question is that he had some information about the significance of the new e-mails as Sen Cornyn suggests.  Otherwise, he risked serious damage to his reputation and is unlikely to remain in his post should nothing significant appear.


  • EU, U.S. trade deal not dead yet: EU's Malmstrom (Reuters)  A much-debated trade deal between the European Union and the United States is not dead and negotiations will continue with the new U.S. administration after November's elections, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Saturday.  A similar agreement between the EU and Canada can finally be signed on Sunday after resistance from Belgian local governments led to a last-minute blockade of the agreement which was seven years in the making.


  • Calais 'Jungle': France urges UK to take more children (BBC News)   France's president has urged Britain to take its share of responsibility for migrant children who remain in Calais after the "Jungle" camp was cleared.  Francois Hollande said 1,500 unaccompanied minors who were still in the port city would be taken to accommodation centres very shortly.  Migrants fleeing war and poverty had used the sprawling Jungle site as a staging post to try and reach the UK.  The UK has so far agreed to take in about 250 of the children from there.


  • Mosul Iraq battle: Shia militias aim to take Tal Afar (BBC News)   Iraq's Shia militia groups say they have launched an attack against Islamic State militants west of Mosul, as the offensive to retake the city continues.  The Hashid Shaabi groups say their aim is to oust IS from the town of Tal Afar, cutting jihadist supply routes to Mosul from Syria.  Tal Afar had sizeable Shia community before IS overran it in 2014. Mosul is a Sunni city, and the Shia militias have pledged not to enter it.  Iraq began the offensive last week.  Iraqi, Kurdish and allied forces, backed by US air power, have advanced in their push to retake Mosul, IS's de facto capital in Iraq.

  • ISIL abducted nearly 8,000 families from Mosul vicinity: UN rights office (The Frontier Post)  Hat tip to Sig Silber.  Credible reports suggest that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) has been forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes in sub-districts around the Iraqi city of Mosul, including nearly 8,000 families the group abducted, since the operations to restore Iraqi Government control over Mosul began on 17 October, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said Friday.  Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told reporters in Geneva:.

“ISIL fighters are allegedly killing civilians who refuse to comply with ISIL’s instructions or who previously belonged to the Iraqi Security Forces, including 232 civilians who were shot to death last Wednesday.” 


  • Russia loses seat on UN Human Rights Council by just 2 votes (CNN)  For years, UN countries seeking to stop Russia from assisting the Assad regime militarily in Syria have been blocked by Moscow's veto power as a permanent UN Security Council member. But on Friday at the UN, opponents of Russia's punishing assaults in Syria achieved a small symbolic victory.  Russia was defeated in its bid to be re-elected as a member of the UN's Human Rights Council, the most prestigious panel in the UN system designed to examine global human rights.  But it was close. Russia lost to Croatia by just two votes, 114 to 112, with Hungary claiming the Eastern Europe region's other remaining seat. UN General Assembly voted in a secret balloting process that has no vetoes.  The United States and United Kingdom also won seats on the rights panel.

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

How the Next President Could Save Social Security (Bloomberg)  According to the latest estimates, Social Security will begin to run short of money in 18 years. Yet, the issue has barely come up this election year. In a brief exchange during the final debate, Donald Trump said a growing economy would be enough to save the program1. Hillary Clinton proposed raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing some benefits. Neither candidate outlined a solvency plan. It’s no surprise that just one in three millennials believes Social Security will be around when they retire, according to Pew Research. There are several ways to replenish the program—some more painful than others. The sooner the problem is addressed, the less costly it will be to fix.  The problem is a falling worker-to-beneficiary ratio (first graphic below).  Several solutions are discussed - the most balanced one is in the second graphic below.

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