Early Bird Headlines 31 July 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.
- Climate change means we can’t keep living (and working) in glass houses (The Conversation) We have yet to invent architecture ready for whatever happens to the climate, but it is clear that we need to take lessons from the past – and from other cultures. We can’t simply air-condition our way through global warming.
- Facebook shows off ‘Aquila’ Internet drone (Seeking Alpha) Facebook has built a competitor for Google’s Project Loon. The FB plane will hover between 60,000 feet and 90,000 feet, above the altitude of commercial airplanes, and will be able to fly for 90 days at a time. See also UPDATE 1-Facebook says drone ready for real-world testing later this year (Reuters).
- N.C. case represents pivotal point of voting debate (The Washington Post) The changes at issue sound tame and almost inconsequential compared with the poll taxes, literacy tests and voter intimidation tactics that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act. Instead: a reduction in the number of days of early voting, disallowing people to register and vote on the same day, not counting votes that were cast in the wrong precinct and ending the practice of pre-registering teenagers before they become 18. (The voter identification piece of the legislation was modified by lawmakers this year and is not part of the current case.)
The NAACP, the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union are among those suing the state. They are supported by the Obama administration, and Justice Department lawyers have asked that U.S. District Judge Thomas D. Schroeder take the rare step of returning North Carolina to federal oversight, a process known as “pre-clearance.” What is claimed by the plaintiffs is that the Republican legislation eliminates voter registration practices used predominantly by Democrats to sign up disproportionately black and hispanic voters and reduces early voting which is dominated by the same groups.
- Deutsche Bank Didn’t Archive Chats Used by Some Employees Tied to Libor Probe (The Wall Street Journal) Bank says data loss was due to software glitch; New York regulator probing whether loss affects Libor settlement. Unfortunately for the bank they have a long record of shortcomings in retaining data so the new claim is an old story. Econintersect: At least Tom Brady says he destroys old cellphones whenever he buys a new one, doesn’t have some lame “glitch” excuse.
- The Wheels Are Already Coming Off The Greek Deal (Frances Coppola, Forbes) FC has contributed to GEI. Some of her summary:
Some reforms – notably the VAT rises – were immediately implemented. But we know that Greek hearts aren’t in this. Neither the government nor the Greek people really want this bailout. They want debt relief and an end to austerity: but what they are getting is more debt and even more austerity. Will they swallow it? The creditors are – understandably – sceptical.
Nonetheless, legislation has been passed, and that is supposedly sufficient for talks about a third bailout to begin.
Except that it isn’t. Every excuse under the sun has been used to avoid actually starting talks. Firstly, there were “logistical issues“. The Greek government had reluctantly agreed to work with the hated Troika technocrats, but that didn’t mean it was going to make their lives easy. Citing security concerns, it insisted that they stay in a hotel outside Athens. This did not go down well. The Troika representatives refused to hold the talks in the hotel. Eventually the Bank of Greece offered to host the talks.
And as soon as the talks started, a group of creditors led by the German delegation moved the goalposts. They demanded that the Greek government push through a third tranche of reforms as a pre-condition for a new bailout.
- How did the Turkish peace process collapse? (Middle East Eye) Hat tips to Chuck Spinney and Roger Erickson. Turkey’s peace process with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) began in the first three months of 2013, after nearly four decades of struggle in which an estimated 40,000 lives were lost. It ended, finally, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally declared it dead on Tuesday this week. He also indicated that the government now intends to launch prosecutions against the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democracy Party (HDP) and its leader, Selahattin Demirel, less than two months after he and 79 others were elected to parliament by six million voters. Econintersect: Simply put, Turkish President Erdogan is trying to criminalize his parliamentary opposition. This is being done under cover of the start of a war against ISIS which in fact has been, so far, mostly a war against Kurds. See the next article.
- Turkey’s conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria (The Independent) Hat tips to Chuck Spinney and Roger Erickson.
So far the Turkish offensive against “terrorism” has been directed primarily against the PKK Kurdish guerrillas in the mountains of northern Iraq rather than Isis in Syria.
In the first two days of the Turkish campaign it sent only a few planes to bomb Syria while there were 185 air missions against about 400 PKK targets. Turkey says it does not distinguish between Isis and the PKK, which makes it easier to gain international acceptance for resuming the war between the Turkish government and its 15 million-strong Kurdish minority.
In reality, the PKK may not be the most important target for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who last month lost his majority when the largely Kurdish HDP party won six million votes and 13 per cent of the votes. If the HDP can be discredited, or its share of the vote falls below 10 per cent in an election called later this year, then Mr Erdogan will once again have the majority he wants.
- ANALYSIS: Iranian hardliners trying to kill nuclear pact (Middle East Eye) Despite the hardliners, Iran’s high ranking officials and religious figures have endorsed the nuclear deal. But Iranian state TV, which has political views similar to the hardliners, is giving their case an airing.
- China’s stock market is so unstable, even the government can’t control it (The Conversation) For all its muscle, the Chinese government could make the problem worse by intervening in the stock market.
- China stock crash will hit economy: Credit Suisse (CNBC) Analysts who suggest China’s stock market crash won’t affect its economy may be off base, according to Credit Suisse. It notes the meltdown’s damaging effects on the financial sector and the growth of the economy.
- China can withstand market volatility: IMF chief (China Daily) International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde on Wednesday downplayed China’s recent market volatility and said Chinese economy is resilient and the slowdown in growth is under control.
- Burma’s path to democracy is being wrecked by lethal identity politics (The Conversation) With parliamentary elections looming, the ethnic hatred let loose by Burma’s (Myranmar’s) transition to democracy are running out of control.
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