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What We Read Today 31 March 2017

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:

  • Newspaper Stocks are Surging - Is Trump Personally Saving Journalism?

  • Astronomers Can't Understand Survival of Asteroid Orbiting in the Wrong Direction

  • Renewables May Replace Fossil Fuels Sooner than You Think

  • Long-Awaited 'Asian Century' Might Never Come

  • Key Dem McCaskill to oppose Gorsuch, back filibuster

  • Michael Flynn’s immunity request, explained

  • It is Reported that Tom Price Bought Drug Stocks Same Day He Intervened to Protect their Profits

  • ObamaCare architect met with White House officials Thursday

  • Low Inflation 'Baked On' for EU

  • Has Japan Finally Won the Fight Against Deflation?

  • China Ignores Trump's Twitter Barb Ahead of First Xi Meeting

  • Australia Won't Be So Easy for Trump to Bully

  • Top Venezuela official breaks with government, protests mount

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world

Global

People in the West, certainly Americans, have long had a fascination with the East, with many predicting an inevitable “Asian century” marked by economic and market dominance. I have long disagreed with the consensus on China and other Asian Tigers, and others are beginning to agree. Many problems stand in the way of the “Asian century.”

U.S.

The announcement makes it significantly harder for Gorsuch to muster the 60 votes he needs to overcome a filibuster and advance to a final confirmation vote.

McCaskill is the first Democrat facing reelection next year in a state President Trump carried by double digits to come out against Gorsuch.

She announced her opposition in a statement posted to Medium, faulting the nominee for “a stunning lack of humanity.

  • Michael Flynn’s immunity request, explained (Vox)  The implication is that Flynn has vital information about the ties between Trump and Russia, and that he did some questionable stuff while working for the Trump team. Thus, it would be in the public’s interest for Congress to grant Flynn immunity so he could explain what he did — and how many others in the campaign were involved.  Here’s the catch: We have no idea what, if anything, Flynn actually has.  Ronald Wright, a law professor at Wake Forest University who studies immunity deals, says:

“If he really had some very specific information about Trump campaign collusion with the Russians ... there’s no way a lawyer would try to sell that information for immunity by way of release of a statement.” 

EU

  • Low Inflation 'Baked On' for EU (Twitter)  For almost five years EU core inflation has remained below 1.1%  and not even the doubling of oil since early 2016 could bleed through to budge the core.

eu.core.inflation.2013.2017

Japan

Click for large image.
japan.cpi.2017.mar.30

China

  • China Ignores Trump's Twitter Barb Ahead of First Xi Meeting (Bloomberg)  China ignored a Twitter outburst from Donald Trump one week before his first meeting with Xi Jinping, calling the event a “new starting point” for ties between the world’s biggest economies.  Foreign ministry officials deflected questions about Trump’s latest China criticism at a briefing in Beijing on Friday to discuss the April 6-7 summit at his Mar-a-Lago club, in Palm Beach, Florida. The news conference came just two hours after Trump took to Twitter to blame the country for U.S. trade deficits and job losses, saying the meeting “will be a very difficult one”.

Australia

  • Australia Won't Be So Easy for Trump to Bully (Bloomberg)  When President Donald Trump berated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull two months ago over 1,250 refugees the U.S. agreed to accept from Australia, the phone conversation was perceived ominously: A decades-old alliance that was already strained by Australia's economic reliance on China was now being put under greater stress.

In that narrative, Australia needed all the international support it could get to counteract weakness caused by a resource-dependent economy. Chinese demand for Australia's iron ore, natural gas and coal, the thinking went, could force Australia to comply with the whims of its biggest trading partner, especially if relations with the U.S. cooled.

That weakness turns out to be exaggerated. Australia's total trade with China declined 18 percent to $114 billion in 2015 (2016 will show little change when the monthly data is revised as the annual figure) from more than $139 billion in 2013 and 2012. Six years ago, total trade with China amounted to $127 billion, Bloomberg data show.

Venezuela

  • Top Venezuela official breaks with government, protests mount (Reuters)   Venezuela's powerful attorney general on Friday broke ranks with President Nicolas Maduro's government after the judiciary annulled congress, a rare show of internal dissent as protests and international condemnation grew.  Luisa Ortega, appointed attorney general in 2007 and a staunch ally of the Socialists who have ruled for the last 18 years, rebuked the Supreme Court's controversial move to take over the opposition-led National Assembly's functions.  The 59-year-old Ortega said in a speech:

"It constitutes a rupture of the constitutional order.  "It's my obligation to express my great concern to the country."

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

nyt.up.30.pct

rogue.asteroid

  • Stratfor gives us good news, showing when renewables will replace fossil fuels (Fabius Maximus)  FM has contributed to GEI. Growth in energy consumption and use of fossil fuels have been over-estimated by "experts" in recent years.  Similarly, growth of renewables, especially wind and solar have been significantly under-estimated.  Thus it is best to look at an array of possible future scenarios to project when a "tipping point" might occur; that is, when will renewable energy growth match or exceed  the growth in energy demand.  That would be the point at which fossil fuel consumption would stop growing and start declining.  Looking at the following matrix, if the recent growth rates for the various energy parameters were to continue, the tipping point will occur in 6-8 years.  More common projections have it at 2040 and beyond.

Click for large image.


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