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What We Read Today 30 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:

  • The World’s First Marijuana ETF Bets Big on These 10 Stocks

  • 5 Lies You’ve Been Told About the US Legalizing Marijuana

  • Why 'Work Ethic' Promulgation is Code Talk by Slave Masters

  • Watch a Deaf Baby Hear for the First Time 

  • Why Do Seniors Work?  There is More than One Reason

  • 10 demographic trends shaping the U.S. and the world in 2017

  • Marchers for Save the Planet Left Behind Lot's of Litter

  • Immigrants are driving overall workforce growth in the U.S.

  • No One Can Trust Trump on Immigration

  • Many lower-income Republicans see ensuring health coverage for all as a government responsibility

  • What the ‘Trump Trade’ Was and Why It May Be Over

  • European asylum applications remained near record levels in 2016

  • Why Emmanuel Macron's bid to haul France out of its economic malaise will be harder than he thinks

  • A Tale of Two Countries:  France and Germany

  • China Scores Tacit Victory at Southeast Asian Leaders' Meeting

  • It’s Official: Coal Just Became Uneconomic in Canada

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • 10 demographic trends shaping the U.S. and the world in 2017 (Pew Research Center)  As demographers convene in Chicago for the Population Association of America’s annual meeting, here is a look at 10 of Pew Research Center’s recent findings on demographic trends, ranging from global refugee and migrant flows to changes to family life and living arrangements. They show how demographic forces are driving population change and reshaping the lives of people around the world.  Some of the research results are included in today's article, below.


  • No One Can Trust Trump on Immigration (Bloomberg)  What doesn’t Donald Trump understand about the word “illegal”?  That’s the gist of some right-wing reaction to the president’s comments in an interview with the Associated Press last week. The sticking point is Trump’s position on Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, and who were shielded from deportation by executive actions signed by President Barack Obama.

Trump had expressed sympathy toward Dreamers before. But last week he explicitly said he would protect them. 

And that’s going to be the policy of your administration,” the AP asked Trump, “to allow the Dreamers to stay?”  

Trump’s reply was unequivocal: “Yes. Yes. That’s our policy.”  Because even the most unequivocal statements from Trump can be entirely unreliable, the reporter gave Trump the option to repeat his vow or wriggle away.

  • Many lower-income Republicans see ensuring health coverage for all as a government responsibility (Pew Research Center)  With the U.S. House preparing to vote on a proposal to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Republicans continue to overwhelmingly oppose the law, and most say it’s not the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage. But the views of lower-income Republicans stand out: They are somewhat more likely than higher-income Republicans to support the health care law, and many say it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have coverage.

  • What the ‘Trump Trade’ Was and Why It May Be Over: QuickTake Q&A (Bloomberg)  Within six weeks of Trump’s victory, benchmark stock indexes had reached fresh records, the U.S. dollar index gained nearly 6% and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped by more than 75 basis points. Among equities, the biggest winners were linked to expectations of a big fiscal boost. Banks would profit from deregulation, the thinking went, and small-cap stocks would gain from corporate tax cuts. The promise of massive infrastructure spending helped shares of select construction and materials companies do better than U.S. stocks at large.  These moves have now substantially faded.


  • European asylum applications remained near record levels in 2016 (Pew Research Center)  Europe’s record for annual asylum applications was nearly broken last year, but the numbers trailed off considerably by the end of 2016 and fell short of the previous year’s peak surge in late summer and early fall.  In 2016, European Union countries, Norway and Switzerland received more than 1.2 million asylum applications, only about 92,000 fewer than the record 1.3 million applications received in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of recently released data from Eurostat, Europe’s statistical agency.


France has not managed to meet the EU mandated deficit target since before the financial crisis, while the European Commission believes public borrowing will fall below the 3pc threshold this year, from 3.4pc in 2016.

It warned that “the pace of fiscal adjustment is slow as the adjustment of government spending proves difficult. This raises concerns about the durability of the deficit correction.” In other words, France’s bloated state is holding it back.

Macron is betting on growth to make his sums add up. He hopes a further thinning-out of France’s 3,000 page labour code will help to lower the unemployment rate to 7pc, from a current rate of 10pc.

Click for large image.


  • China Scores Tacit Victory at Southeast Asian Leaders' Meeting (Bloomberg)   China won approval from Southeast Asian leaders on Saturday at a meeting where U.S. allies in Asia have previously criticized Beijing over its actions in disputed maritime territory.  The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has enjoyed an upswing in relations with China for some time, ended a summit in Manila with a statement noting “the improving cooperation between Asean and China” in the South China Sea.


  • It’s Official: Coal Just Became Uneconomic in Canada (Desmog Canada)  In a somewhat unexpected move, the Calgary-based electricity company TransAlta announced it will accelerate the phase-out of eight coal-fired power units — representing almost 3,000 megawatts of generating capacity — with six of those to be converted to gas-fired generation between 2021 and 2023.  The remaining two will be closed on Jan. 1, 2018.  “It makes complete economic sense that they did that,” says Binnu Jeyakumar, electricity program director at the Pembina Institute, pointing to expiring power purchase agreements (PPAs) and an increasing inability for coal to compete with natural gas and renewables.  While calculations vary, it’s estimated that the conversion of the six coal plants to simple cycle gas operations — a process that will cost around $300 million in total — will cut emissions by between 30 and 40% per megawatt hour of electricity produced.

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

  • Marijuana Stocks: The World’s First Marijuana ETF Bets Big on These 10 Stocks (Cheat Sheet)  An ETF is an exchange-traded fund, which is a security that trades like a stock and tracks like an index, or bundle of assets. They’re similar to a mutual fund, but there are some differences. Basically, the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMMJ) allows you to invest in the cannabis industry and dilute your risk by purchasing stock in numerous companies, not just one. It is composed of 14 medical marijuana stocks, 10 of which are based in Canada.  The key is this new ETF is a new way to get a foothold in the cannabis market. With sales not expected to slow down (barring some legal action by the federal government), the ETF presents a great opportunity to make some real money.  Six of the stocks are each weighted at the maximum allowed 10% and are listed below.  See also next article. Top 6 stocks:

  • Aphria (OTC: APHQF, TSE:APH)

  • Aurora Cannabis (OTC:ACBFF, CVE:ACB)

  • Canopy Growth (OTC:TWMJF, TSE:WEED)

  • Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ:INSY)

  • Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG)

  • GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH)

  • 5 Lies You’ve Been Told About the US Legalizing Marijuana (Cheat Sheet)  Marijuana legalization is no longer just a pipe dream; in several states, it’s become a reality. With several states all having passed voter-backed legalization initiatives, residents in three of those states are now free to engage in the purchase and consumption of marijuana and related products from licensed stores and retail locations. It’s a situation that would have been unimaginable just a decade or so ago.  Many doomsday predictions about legalization of Marijuana have come to pass.  In fact just the opposite of the predictions has happened.  Here are five disproven myths:

  1. Crime will increase

  2. Teen use rates will skyrocket

  3. Public health will suffer

  4. The roads will be more dangerous

  5. Enforcement costs will spike


Click to watch video.


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