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What We Read Today 07 May 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:

  • Washington Is Making It Tougher to Retire

  • Anti-vaccine activists spark a state’s worst measles outbreak in decades

  • Musk Employs Unusual Marketing Plan for Model 3: 'Anti-Selling'

  • Global Health Care Costs and Quality

  • Buffett Laments 'Roadkill' Who Lose Jobs, Says U.S. Must Help

  • Religious liberty order disappoints some conservatives

  • Steven Holcomb: shock death of bobsled legend who made US a force

  • Fed's Williams Stands by Hike Outlook as Unemployment Drops

  • Euro Edges Higher as Macron Beats Le Pen in French Election

  • British passports being ‘sold on dark web’ for £750

  • 'Brexit boom' gives Britain record 134 billionaires, fueling inequality fears

  • French election results: Macron defeats Le Pen to become President

  • Macron is France's Youngest President Ever, Edging Out Napoleon Bonaparte

  • Merkel's conservatives thump rivals in German regional vote

  • Head of Islamic State in Afghanistan confirmed killed

  • Jared Kushner's sister woos China's 'golden visa' investors

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Buffett Laments 'Roadkill' Who Lose Jobs, Says U.S. Must Help (Bloomberg)  Warren Buffett likened unemployed workers to animals that are helpless to avoid car crashes, and said the U.S. must do more to help those displaced by competition from overseas and technology.  The billionaire faced several questions at the gathering about declining employment in the manufacturing sector -- a key theme in the recent presidential race -- and about job cuts at Kraft Heinz Co., the foodmaker backed by Buffett and 3G Capital. He reiterated his view that society at large benefits from both economic efficiency and free trade, often at the expense of individual workers who struggle to find new jobs.

He spoke of the plight of former employees at a Berkshire textile operation in New Bedford, Massachusetts, who lost their work to competition from cheaper locations decades ago. Buffett said such shifts help millions of people by providing necessities at a lower cost.

“Massive trade should be -- and is actually -- enormously beneficial to both the U.S. and the world,” he said. “Greater productivity will benefit the world in a general way, but to be roadkill, to be the textile worker in New Bedford” is a painful experience, he added. “It would be no fun to go through life and say I’m doing this for the greater good, and so that shoes or underwear was all for 5 percent less.”

  • Fed's Williams Stands by Hike Outlook as Unemployment Drops (Bloomberg)  Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said his outlook for three or four rate increases in 2017 hasn’t shifted, as the labor market shows signs of expanding beyond its sustainable rate and the economy is operating above potential.


The shared currency climbed about 0.2 percent to $1.1023 as of 7:11 a.m. in Auckland on Monday. While that is the highest level since November, the jump was more muted than the reaction that followed Macron’s first-round win, when the euro gained almost 2 percent within 15 minutes of the open. With polls consistently giving Macron the lead in the run-up to the second round, markets had largely priced in a victory for the centrist, limiting the scope for a more sizable relief rally.


  • British passports being ‘sold on dark web’ for £750 (The Telegraph)  British passports are being bought on the “dark web” by terrorists for as little as £750 ($975), Europol has warned.

  • 'Brexit boom' gives Britain record 134 billionaires, fuelling inequality fears (The Guardian)   Britain has more billionaires than ever in what equality campaigners said was a clear sign the UK economy is only working for the few at the top.  There are now 134 billionaires based in the UK according to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, 14 more than the previous highest total, as the super-rich reap the benefits of a “Brexit boom”. Fifteen years ago, there were 21.  The annual rich list showed that the wealthiest 1,000 individuals and families in Britain have combined wealth of £658 billion ($855 billion), up from £575 billion last year, despite fears that the Brexit vote last June would plunge the economy into a fresh turmoil.


  • French election results: Macron defeats Le Pen to become President (The Telegraph)  he French Election results show Emmanuel Macron will beat Marine Le Pen to become President of France, according to early estimates that predict that he has claimed 65.5% of the votes.  Such a comfortable Macron win would be greater than margin polls have been saying for weeks, with most polls saying that the 39-year-old centrist would win with a lead of around 20 points.


  • Merkel's conservatives thump rivals in German regional vote (Reuters)   Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives won a decisive victory over their Social Democrat (SPD) rivals in a vote in Germany's northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday, boosting her prospects of winning a national election in September.  Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) fetched 33% of the vote in Schleswig-Holstein, up from 30.8% in the last election there in 2012, projected results for broadcaster ARD showed. The SPD won 26.2%, down from 30.4%.  The result leaves the CDU short of sufficient support to rule alone in the state, but means the SPD cannot continue to govern in coalition with the Greens and the South Schleswig Party (SSW), which represents the ethnic Danish minority.


  • Head of Islamic State in Afghanistan confirmed killed (Reuters)  The head of Islamic State in Afghanistan, Abdul Hasib, was killed in an operation on April 27 conducted jointly by Afghan and U.S. Special Forces in the eastern province of Nangarhar, U.S. and Afghan officials said on Sunday.  Hasib, appointed last year after his predecessor Hafiz Saeed Khan died in a U.S. drone strike, is believed to have ordered a series of high profile attacks including one in March 8 on the main military hospital in Kabul, a statement said.  Last month, a Pentagon spokesman said Hasib had probably been killed during the raid by U.S. and Afghan special forces in Nangarhar during which two U.S. army Rangers were killed, but prior to Sunday's announcement there had been no confirmation.


Nicole Kushner Meyer was promoting One Journal Square, a Kushner Companies development comprising two luxury apartment towers in New Jersey, at events for wealthy Chinese financiers in Beijing and Shanghai.

The project is seeking to raise $150 million, or 15.4 per cent of the total funding, from foreign investors through the EB-5 visa programme, according to immigration agency Qiaowai which organised the event.

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

  • Washington Is Making It Tougher to Retire (Bloomberg)   Americans face two big problems as they get older: a shortage of retirement savings and the skyrocketing cost of health care. Both may be about to get worse after two narrow votes in Congress this week.  On Wednesday, the Senate voted 50 to 49 to undo a regulation, finalized under President Barack Obama, that makes it easier for states to launch retirement savings programs. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted 217 to 213 to approve the American Health Care Act, or AHCA.  The AARP, the nonprofit organization that advocates for Americans 50 and over, lobbied intensely against both measures and urged its 38 million members to contact their representatives about the health care bill, which AARP says imposes an "age tax" on older Americans.   The House's Republican leaders say the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is in danger of collapse and needs to be repealed and replaced. Premiums have risen sharply under Obamacare, among other criticisms.  House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said, speaking minutes before the vote.

"We have the opportunity to show that we’ve got the resolve to tackle the big challenges in this country before they tackle us.  [The bill is a chance] "to stop the drift of arrogant big government policies in our lives and to begin a new era of reform based on liberty and self-determination."

MMR vaccination rates among U.S.-born children of Somali descent used to be higher than among other children in Minnesota. But the rates plummeted from 92 percent in 2004 to 42 percent in 2014, state health department data shows, well below the threshold of 92 to 94 percent needed to protect a community against measles.

  • Musk Employs Unusual Marketing Plan for Model 3: 'Anti-Selling' (Bloomberg)  An unlikely naysayer has emerged as Tesla Inc. prepares to market the all-important Model 3 sedan to consumers: Elon Musk himself.  Two months before the electric-car maker plans to begin production of its first vehicle to sell for near mass-market prices, the chief executive officer told investors he’s concerned expectations are too high. Tesla will be “anti-selling” the Model 3, offering no test drives or advertising for six to nine months, he said after reporting a first-quarter loss.  Musk, 45, said on a conference call Wednesday:

“We’re doing our best to clear up that confusion so people do not think that Model 3 is somehow superior to Model S.  Model S will be better than Model 3, as it should be because it’s a more expensive car.”

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