Early Bird Headlines 19 May 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Scientists May Have Discovered A Critical Key To Predicting Volcanic Eruptions (Huffington Post) “May” is the most important word in the headline. Scientists have observed a phenomenon in a laboratory-scale physical model constructed with jelly and colored water that may relate to measurable factors associated with a volcano that will soon erupt. Now they have to demonstrate that the effect actually occurs in a real volcano and that may take some time and luck to actually take measurements in the right place at the right time.
- Where will nuclear power plants of the future be built? (The Conversation) At the heart of the nuclear question are differing views on value for money, foresight and responsibility. Huge long-term investments are needed and it’s clear there are critical social, environmental and economic decisions to be made. Germany, Europe’s dominant electricity user, has made its choice. Its decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and to instead invest in renewables, efficiency measures, grid infrastructure and energy storage, will prove significant for both European and international energy policy. The outlook now is that, as fossil fuels decline in use, renewables will take their place, not nuclear.
- FBI examining what struck Amtrak train’s windshield (CNN) Hat tip to Alun Hill. The FBI is investigating the mysterious smashed windshield on the wrecked Amtrak train.
- Why Obama Is Wrong and Warren Is Right on Trade Bill Quarrel (Bloomberg Politics) Elizabeth Warren has warned leery Democrats that a fast-track trade bill could undo U.S. laws such as the Dodd-Frank banking regulations later. A number of constitutional scholars and other legal experts say she’s right, according to this OpEd.
- Raising Definition of Price Stability ‘Misguided’, Says ECB’s Mersch (The New York Times) Price level targeting (adjusting monetary policy to maintain static prices) is not the same as inflation targeting. The latter is the current ECB strategy (indeed the global central bank strategy) and Yves Mersch says it is the correct strategy. Econintersect: It seems that Mersch is missing stating the key illustration: inflation targeting is equivalent to price targeting with the price targets moving by the inflation rate desired each year. So what he means by fixed price level stability is targeting zero inflation. It seems an obfuscation to talk all around such a conceptually simple statement without actually saying it.
- Why one of the wealthiest countries in the world is failing to feed its people (The Conversation) The UK currently has subsidies for winter fuel, transportation, and housing, but there is nothing that ensures food affordability.
- Saudi-Led Airstrikes Resume in Yemen as Truce Ends (The New York Times) A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia resumed airstrikes in Yemen on Sunday, hours after the expiration of a five-day humanitarian cease-fire between the coalition and Houthi rebels.
- Corruption cripples Iraqi armed forces in the fight against Islamic State (The Conversation)
- Russia face punishment for lack of respect to Canada (Reuters) Even Russia’s hockey team faces sanctions after they lost the world championship game to the North American team in Prague and left the ice before the game ending ceremonies.
- Indian Subcontinent’s Quake-Causing Collision Course (The New York Times) More than 100 million years ago, India broke away from a supercontinent comprised of what today are Antarctica, Australia and Africa and accelerated northward. According to the widely accepted picture, that runaway continental fragment collided with Eurasia 50 million to 55 million years ago in one of the few places today where a piece of continent runs into a continent rather than an ocean plate. But recent geologic data raises uncertainty about the more recent part of that history and whether there have been a series of collisions rather than the single event. What is clear today is the two plates are interacting at an astounding speed: India and China are between 12 to 16 feet closer together than they were 100 years ago and will be another 12-16 feet closer 100 years from now. On the tectonic plate speedway that is blinding speed.
- Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions (The New York Times) Axact calls itself Pakistan’s largest software exporter but the Karachi company’s primary business is the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees globally on the Internet.
- China’s overseas investment surge 36 pct in January-April (Xinhuanet) China became a net exporter of capital in 2014 and that trend continues to grow this year. The Chinese mainland made more than 214 billion yuan ($35 billion) of non-financial investment in overseas markets in the first four months of 2015, up 36% year on year, latest data showed on Friday.
- China releases guidelines for economic reform priorities in 2015 (Reuters) With the ultimate goal of restructuring the economy to boost consumption at the expense of exports and investment, Beijing has remained focused on a range of reforms, including freeing up the workforce to liberalizing China’s nascent financial market. The document released contained few specifics.
- Japan machinery orders rise, but weak outlook hampers economic rebound (Reuters) Japan’s core machinery orders grew in March for the first time in two months but they are seen slipping in the current quarter, suggesting that weak capital spending could further sap momentum from an economy struggling to rebound from a recession.
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