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What We Read Today 08 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".).


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

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Topics today include:

  • Who wants to destroy Europe?

  • Can the Sun Provide All Power Needed on Earth?

  • Humans May Have Been in the New World Before the Last Ice Age

  • A New Idea on How Earth Became a Giant Snowball 

  • The Distribution of Tax Cuts foe Obamacare Repeal

  • Sally Yates Testifies Before Congress on What She Told the White House about Michael Flynn

  • The Justice Department Urges Appeals Court to Sign Off on Travel Ban

  • McConnell: ObamaCare replacement bill 'will not be quick'

  • Rice chides Trump for criticism of judges, media

  • A doctor explains the problem with a single-payer healthcare system in the US

  • VIX Closes at Lowest Since 1993 as Trance Deepens in Market

  • Iran's Presidential Campaign

  • China's Stock Shakeout Creates Most Divided Market in 15 Years

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Michael Flynn lied about Russia, and it opened him up to potential blackmail from Russia

  • What (or whether) the White House did anything with this information is unclear

  • Republicans are almost single-handedly focused on HOW we know Flynn talked with the Russian ambassador

  • Republicans are also really mad at Yates for not defending Trump's travel ban

  • Democrats are pretty sure there's more to the Trump-Russia story than Flynn

  • U.S. Urges Appeals Court to Sign Off on Trump's Travel Ban 2.0 (Bloomberg)  The U.S. Justice Department urged a federal appeals court to let stand President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority countries, arguing that negative comments he made about the religion on the campaign trail and after his election victory are irrelevant.

Several judges on the panel in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday questioned Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall why they shouldn’t be allowed to consider those comments in determining whether Trump’s travel directive violates the Constitution, while tough questions for American Civil Liberties Union’s lawyer, Omar Jadwat, left it unclear which way the panel was leaning.

  • McConnell: ObamaCare replacement bill 'will not be quick' (The Hill)  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is signaling that the Senate will not quickly pass legislation to reform the nation's healthcare system after a bill cleared the House last week.  McConnell said on Monday:

"This process will not be quick or simple or easy, but it must be done." 

  • Rice chides Trump for criticism of judges, media (Reuters)  Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday she would prefer that President Donald Trump not criticize judges and the media but that U.S. democratic institutions can withstand such comments.  Speaking in an interview, Rice also described Trump as having a somewhat "transactional" view of foreign relations but she broadly endorsed his approach of seeking to enlist China's help to get North Korea to rein in its nuclear program.  Asked about Trump lashing out at judges when rulings go against him and describing the media as "the enemy of the people", Rice replied: "It’s language that I would prefer not to hear."

  • The problem with a single-payer healthcare system in the US (The Hill)  A doctor presents his view of why universal health care is not good for the U.S..

  • VIX Closes at Lowest Since 1993 as Trance Deepens in Market (Bloomberg)  For anyone nourished on volatility, the famine in global markets is worsening.  With the French election ending in a victory for Emmanuel Macron, one more thing said to threaten global stability has made a quiet exit. For investors already looking at record-low price turbulence, the defeat of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen means even more risk removed from the table.  Econintersect:  Calm before the storm?


  • Presidential hopefuls spar over economy as Trump turns screws on Iran (Reuters)   President Hassan Rouhani's trip to the coal mine in northern Iran was all going to plan, until the crowd massed in front of his car chanting "it's a day of mourning for workers".  Seconds later, shaky footage of Sunday's protest showed a man jumping onto the bonnet and stamping hard on the metalwork, a rare direct confrontation against the background of a highly-charged election race that keeps returning to one subject - Iran's stuttering economy.

Staged or not, the slogans echoed the battle-cries of the broader election campaign, where Rouhani's rivals have focused on his handling of an economy threatened by high unemployment, low oil prices, slow growth outside the crude sector and a new, unpredictable foe in U.S. President Donald Trump.


  • China's Stock Shakeout Creates Most Divided Market in 15 Years (Bloomberg)  All Chinese stock indexes are not equal.  As Beijing intensifies a campaign to clean up markets and reduce leverage, state-owned enterprises that dominate old growth industries, such as banks and commodity producers, have been among the worst hit, while new-economy shares remain in favor among overseas investors. That’s led to a yawning gap between the nation’s two main offshore gauges -- the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index and the MSCI China Index.

The 40-member Hang Seng measure has fallen 2.8 percent over the past month, as the MSCI China advanced 0.8 percent. That’s caused the index of so-called H shares to trade at its biggest discount against its MSCI rival in 15 years -- a split that investors see diverging further.

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

  • Who wants to destroy Europe? (Social News IT)  Only 2% of the Sahara could power the world.  Using high voltage DC (low loss) transmission lines, all power for Europe could come from about 1/6 of that area (0.3% of the Sahara).

Click for larger image.

  • A New Idea on How Earth Became a Giant Snowball (Scientific American)  Eons ago Earth experienced a wild transformation: it turned into a giant snowball. These massive glaciation events, where ice encased the planet from pole-to-pole, are fittingly named “snowball Earth”.  There were at least two occurrences: one around 717 million and another some 645 million years ago.  Although geologists have good evidence Earth experienced these snowball events, they still cannot figure out how they happened.

Scientists have debated for decades over what set off the most profound climatic changes in the planet’s geologic record. Now researchers at Harvard University have a new idea that may finally provide an answer: They say volcanic regions, located in the right place at the right time, may have triggered at least the one of these giant glaciation events. 

Click for larger image.

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