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What We Read Today 17 September 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:

  • Scientists invented a pen that can screen for cancer in seconds rather than weeks

  • The Mystery of the Missing Inflation

  • An investing legend who's nailed the bull market at every turn sees no end in sight for the 269% rally

  • How Obesity Has Spread Around the World

  • Sachs: Big Oil will have to pay up, like Big Tobacco

  • Trump’s 3% Growth for the 1%

  • H.R. McMaster: White House "looking at" stricter travel ban

  • THE MEMO: Trump keeps political world guessing

  • Hurricane Jose Aims for U.S. Northeast as Maria Strengthens

  • Extreme Concern about Maria - 17Sep2017

  • U.K. Police Arrest Second Suspect in Blast; Threat Level Cut

  • Iran Nuclear Deal Opened Access to Goods, Not Jobs, Poll Finds

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


Here is a message to investors in the oil industry, whether pension and insurance funds, university endowments, hedge funds or other asset managers: Your investments are going to sour. The growing devastation caused by climate change, as seen this month in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, are going to blow a hole in your fossil-fuel portfolio.

Not only will the companies you own suffer as society begins to abandon fossil fuels in earnest, they will also be dragged through the courts here and abroad for their long-standing malfeasance and denial of what they have done to the world.


Even if US President Donald Trump hits his growth targets in 2018 and 2019 – and he just might – only the stock market may be cheering. Policies that produced more broadly shared and environmentally sustainable growth would be far better than policies that perpetuate current distributional trends and exacerbate many Americans’ woes.

  • H.R. McMaster: White House "looking at" stricter travel ban (CNN)  The Trump administration is considering a new travel ban to replace its original executive order, which has had its legality questioned and is up for a Supreme Court hearing next month, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.

  • THE MEMO: Trump keeps political world guessing (The Hill)  The political world is trying to figure out President Trump - again.  Trump has repeatedly transgressed the norms of political behavior since he began his quest for the presidency in June 2015. He has done so primarily by appealing to the Republican base in visceral terms.  That has changed in recent days, as Trump has instead sought progress on a stalled legislative agenda by cooperating with Democrats. 

Now, Washington is fixated on whether this presages a longer-term shift on Trump’s part or is only a momentary aberration.  

Among some Trump supporters, there was disenchantment, especially at an apparent openness to protecting beneficiaries of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  

  • Hurricane Jose Aims for U.S. Northeast as Maria Strengthens (Bloomberg)  Hurricane Jose churned toward the U.S. Northeast and could cause swells along the coast by midweek, according to the National Hurricane Center, while Tropical Storm Maria is expected to become a hurricane later today and threaten already-battered Caribbean islands.  Jose was about 355 miles (571 kilometers) southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, at 11 a.m. New York time. Its path could put it well off the coast of New Jersey and New York by Wednesday morning, although it may weaken to a tropical storm again by then, the center said.  Sig Silber is issuing regular tarcking reports with exceptional graphics:  Extreme Concern about Maria - 17Sep2017.



  • U.K. Police Arrest Second Suspect in Blast; Threat Level Cut (Bloomberg)  The U.K. arrested a second suspect in connection with the blast on a commuter train as London’s counter-terrorism police widened their investigation into the attack that injured at least 30 people. After the arrests, the U.K. on Sunday lowered the terrorism threat level to severe from critical.  Police arrested a 21-year-old man in Hounslow, southwest London, late Saturday, according to a statement. He was being held under the U.K. Terrorism Act in a south London police station. An 18-year-old man was arrested early Saturday in the departure area of the port at Dover, the main ferry link between the U.K. and France that saw over 12 million passengers in 2016.


  • Iran Nuclear Deal Opened Access to Goods, Not Jobs, Poll Finds (Bloomberg)   Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers and subsequent sanction relief have provided better access to foreign goods, but few locals believe it has led to more jobs, a new poll shows.  Seventy percent of 700 Iranians surveyed nationwide by phone said multinationals had been slow to commit to trading with or investing in Iran, and most respondents cited concern about U.S. pressure as the reason, according to a survey by Toronto-based IranPoll in partnership with Bourse & Bazaar, an online business publication focused on the country.  While 43% of respondents found goods manufactured by multinationals have become more accessible, some 57%  said the firms haven’t created more jobs for locals and 43% perceived their level of investment as unchanged, according to the report, provided to Bloomberg ahead of its release.

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

  • Scientists invented a pen that can screen for cancer in seconds rather than weeks (Quartz)  Biopsies and test results have taken up to several weeks to process.  Scientists out of the University of Texas-Austin have a solution that could do all that in 10 seconds flat. The “MasSpec pen,” as they are calling it, looks a lot like a big, white sharpie with a cord running down the back. When doctors touch the tip of the pen to a suspect tissue sample, and press a pedal, the pen releases a small droplet of water. The pen then sucks up the water along with some residual tissue into an onsite mass spectrometer and analyzes everything right there on the spot. In lab settings, using mice and human tissue samples, researchers were able to correctly identify lung, ovary, thyroid, and breast cancers and do so with around 93% accuracy. 

  • The Mystery of the Missing Inflation (Nouriel Roubini, Project Syndicate)  Since the summer of 2016, the global economy has been in a period of moderate expansion, yet inflation has yet to pick up in the advanced economies. The question that inflation-targeting central banks must confront is straightforward: why?

One possible explanation for the mysterious combination of stronger growth and low inflation is that, in addition to stronger aggregate demand, developed economies have been experiencing positive supply shocks.

  • Laszlo Birinyi, the investing legend, has nailed the eight-year bull market at every turn, and he sees stocks continuing to rise going forward.

  • He thinks stock bears are ignoring the high levels of cash floating around the market right now.

Click for large image.

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