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What We Read Today 27 April 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".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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Topics today include:

  • How to have a better death

  • The Arctic as it is known today is almost certainly gone

  • Here's What Wall Street Is Saying About Trump's Tax Plan

  • Trump Says NAFTA Pullout Still Possible If Renegotiation Fails

  • Donald Trump takes aim at Canada

  • Putin Warns North Korea Situation Has ‘Seriously Deteriorated’

  • China's Oil Giants Buoyed by Higher Prices as Output Stagnates

  • And More

Note:  The reading list is short today.  The editor spent most of the day reading interstate highway signs, which have not been reported.

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • The Arctic as it is known today is almost certainly gone (The Economist)  On current trends, the Arctic will be largely (or even entirely) ice-free in summer by 2040.  The entire Arctic Ocean as water will radiacally change the weather patterns and climate of the earth, especially the northern hemisphere.  In the past 30 years, the minimum coverage of summer ice has fallen by half; its volume has fallen by three-quarters.


  • Here's What Wall Street Is Saying About Trump's Tax Plan (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump released his tax plan Wednesday, and Wall Street has a few questions.  The one-page proposal includes cuts that would benefit businesses, the middle class and some high-earning individuals. However, it lacks details on how these changes would impact the government’s budget deficit.  Passage of the plan much as outlined is considered unlikely because the plan, it seems, would dramatically increase federal deficits.

  • Trump Says Nafta Pullout Still Possible If Renegotiation Fails (Bloomberg)  President Donald Trump said Thursday he’s still ready to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement if he can’t renegotiate better terms for the U.S. but that he decided to hold off on a decision after appeals from the leaders of Canada and Mexico.  See also article under Canada, below.


Putin Warns North Korea Situation Has ‘Seriously Deteriorated’ (Bloomberg)  

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear program is deepening after the issue dominated talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Moscow.  He and Abe believe the situation on the Korean peninsula has “seriously deteriorated,”  Putin said Thursday after the Kremlin meeting:

“We call on all states involved in the region’s affairs to refrain from military rhetoric and seek peaceful, constructive dialogue.”



  • Donald Trump takes aim at Canada (The Economist)  After much focus on Mexico in recent months, President Trump's wrecking ball for trade is now focused on Canada.  The adminstration's attacks on Canadian dairy farmers and loggers are the opening shots in a bigger confrontation over trade with the U.S.'s northern neighbor.

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

How, when and where death happens has changed over the past century. As late as 1990 half of deaths worldwide were caused by chronic diseases; in 2015 the share was two-thirds. Most deaths in rich countries follow years of uneven deterioration. Roughly two-thirds happen in a hospital or nursing home. They often come after a crescendo of desperate treatment. Nearly a third of Americans who die after 65 will have spent time in an intensive-care unit in their final three months of life. Almost a fifth undergo surgery in their last month.

Such zealous intervention can be agonising for all concerned (see article). Cancer patients who die in hospital typically experience more pain, stress and depression than similar patients who die in a hospice or at home. Their families are more likely to argue with doctors and each other, to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and to feel prolonged grief.

Most important, these medicalised deaths do not seem to be what people want. Polls, including one carried out in four large countries by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an American think-tank, and The Economist, find that most people in good health hope that, when the time comes, they will die at home. And few, when asked about their hopes for their final days, say that their priority is to live as long as possible. Rather, they want to die free from pain, at peace, and surrounded by loved ones for whom they are not a burden.

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