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What We Read Today 15 November 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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Topic today include:

  • Will the Euro "Break the Buck"?

  • Wage Growth Now Advancing Strongly

  • Labor Force Participation is Rebounding

  • Asian Currencies Sinking Against the Dollar

  • France and UN Tell Trump Action on Climate Change is Unstoppable

  • OPEC and Russia Scramble to Find Oil Production Limits Deal

  • Oil Prices Surge 6%

  • Speculation on Trump's Cabinet

  • Infighting Stalls Trump Transition Team

  • What Does Stephen Bannon Want to Accomplish in the White House?

  • Paul Ryan Will Remain Speaker

  • More Than Half of Protesters Didn't Vote

  • Bill Introduced in Senate to Abolish Electoral College

  • Trump Claim of 2-3 Million Criminal Aliens is Bogus

  • Disputed Memo Claims Britain Has No Brexit Plan

  • Syria Resumes Aleppo Bombing

  • Mexico Feeds Heroin to U.S.

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • France, UN tell Trump action on climate change unstoppable (Reuters)  France and the United Nations on Tuesday stepped up warnings to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump about the risks of quitting a 2015 global plan to combat climate change, saying a historic shift from fossil fuels is unstoppable.  French President Francois Hollande, addressing almost 200 nations meeting in Morocco on ways to slow global warming, said that inaction would be "disastrous for future generations and it would be dangerous for peace".  Both he and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Trump, who has called man-made global warming a hoax, to drop a campaign pledge to cancel the global 2015 Paris Agreement that aims to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energies.

  • OPEC, Russia Expand Diplomatic Push to Secure Oil-Cuts Deal (Bloomberg)  OPEC embarked on a final diplomatic effort to secure an oil-cuts deal, with its top official heading on a tour of member states as Russia scheduled informal talks in Doha this week with nations including Saudi Arabia.  The behind-the-scenes diplomacy follows an unannounced meeting in London between OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo and Saudi Minister of Energy and Industry Khalid Al-Falih, said one OPEC delegate. Just two weeks before the group’s Nov. 30 ministerial meeting in Vienna, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran are still at odds over how to share output cuts, said another delegate.



  • Trump’s Cabinet: How it is shaping up (The Hill)  Donald Trump appears set to keep his friends close. Very close.  While the President-elect has yet to announce any nominations to his Cabinet, sources in and around his circle say a number of the allies who stuck with the businessman through thick and thin are under consideration.  This article discusses all the latest news about assumed front-runners.  See also Trump leans toward loyalists for Cabinet picks (Reuters).

  • Transition Stalls as Kushner Said to Oust Christie Allies (Bloomberg)  Power struggles inside Donald Trump’s transition team are hobbling efforts to form a new government -- including what some say is an effort by the president-elect’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to clear out the ranks of loyalists to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

  • What Stephen Bannon wants to do in Trump’s White House (The Hill)   Former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon is poised to play a significant role in foreign policy and national security in the Trump administration.  President-elect Donald Trump named the controversial Bannon his chief strategist on Sunday, simultaneously announcing that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus would serve as chief of staff. Bannon admires right-wing nationalists and hard-line illegal immigration opponents in Europe and elsewhere. He wants to work more closely with them and sees them as part of a worldwide movement to overthrow the “globalists”, according to multiple sources familiar with his thinking.  Econintersect:  Tonight we will post as Documentary of the Week a 2011 presentation by Bannon.

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan renominated for top House post (Reuters)  U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan was unanimously nominated on Tuesday by his fellow Republicans for re-election as speaker in the new Congress next year, the House Republican Conference said on Twitter.

  • More than half of protesters arrested in Portland didn't vote: report (The Hill)  Econintersect:  We have had a suspicion that this might be the case.  Also, the only protestors we have heard of personally who did vote, all voted for Johnson or Stein.  There is much hypocrisy here.

  • Breitbart News planning lawsuit against 'major media company' (The Hill)  Breitbart News is preparing a lawsuit against a "major media company" over claims that it is a white nationalist website, it said in an exclusive statement to The Hill.

  • Democrat introducing bill to abolish Electoral College (The Hill, MSN News)  Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) will introduce legislation on Tuesday to get rid of the Electoral College, after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election despite leading in the popular vote.  Econintersect:  This is nothing more than grandstanding.  A bill to amend the constitution requires approval by 2/3 of each the House and the Senate.  On this issue, that is virtually impossible.  And if passed by the congress, the propsed amendment must be approved by 3/4 of the states within 7 years.  Also an impossibility - see Constitutional Amendment To Abolish Electoral College? No Way!

  • Trump’s claim that 2 million or 3 million criminal aliens are ‘here illegally’ (The Washington Post)  The data Trump is pointing to are of 1.9 million noncitizens who are convicted of crimes and are subject to removal. These noncitizens include people who are here illegally, are here on temporary visas or are lawful permanent residents. People who are lawfully in the United States can be removed if they are convicted of serious crimes. An independent think tank that analyzes immigration policy estimated that more than half of the 1.9 million people are convicted criminals who are not U.S. citizens, but lawfully in the country.  This article says:

The exact number of illegally present noncitizens within that 1.9 million figure is unclear. Calculations by the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank that doesn’t take positions on immigration legislation, show about 820,000 (43 percent) of the 1.9 million are unauthorized immigrants with criminal convictions.

There already are immigration cases scheduled into 2019, and just over 500,000 cases pending for fiscal 2017.


  • Disputed memo says Britain has no Brexit plan (Reuters)  Britain has no overall strategy for leaving the European Union and splits in Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet could delay a clear negotiating position for six months, according to a leaked Deloitte memo that the government dismissed as having no credibility.  The document was written by consultants at Deloitte and leaked to The Times newspaper, which said it had been prepared for the government department that supports the prime minister and her cabinet - something disputed by both Downing Street and Deloitte, which said it was not commissioned by the government.  It casts Britain's top team in a chaotic light: May is trying to control key Brexit questions herself while her senior ministers are divided and the civil service is in turmoil.


  • Syria conflict: Air strikes resume on rebel-held Aleppo (BBC News)   Syrian government aircraft have bombed besieged rebel-held eastern districts of the city of Aleppo for the first time in three weeks, activists say.  The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least five people were killed as a number of areas were hit.  The government and its ally Russia halted air strikes in mid-October to allow civilians and rebels to leave.  Russia denied it had resumed attacks on Aleppo, but said it had launched missiles at jihadist groups elsewhere.  Russia's only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, was also used in combat for the first time, with Su-33 fighters flying sorties from the eastern Mediterranean.  But footage of the aircraft from Russian media outlets show them equipped with air-to-air missiles rather than bombs.


  • America's heroin trail: The outdoor factory that feeds the US (BBC News)  Donald Trump won power with the promise of tackling illegal drug use in America, where more than 10,500 people died from heroin overdose in 2014. Heroin is a rapidly growing problem in the US and much of the supply comes from neighbouring Mexico, where more and more of the drug is being produced, according to White House figures.

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


  • Euro Below the Dollar (Trading Economics)  If the euro does "break the buck", it won't be the first time.  This also happened 2000-2002.



  • Asian Currencies Tumble to Seven-Year Low Amid Stock Outflows (Bloomberg)  A gauge of Asian currencies reached its weakest level since April 2009 as the dollar’s strength prompts investors to sell emerging-market assets.  All major Asian currencies have declined against the U.S. dollar since Donald Trump’s unexpected win in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8. Malaysia’s ringgit and South Korea’s won lost at least 2.8% each. A gauge of the greenback erased its losses this year as U.S. Treasury yields surged on speculation Trump’s pro-growth policies will stoke inflation.

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