Early Bird Headlines 20 August 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.
- Apocalypse Soon: 9 Terrifying Signs of Environmental Doom and Gloom (Rolling Stone) Rising sea levels, earthquake threats and more reasons the world as we know it might be ending. The author maintains that scientists “aren’t being honest about how screwed we are“.
- 6 Things Washington Doesn’t Get About Hackers (Foreign Policy Voice) Hackers aren’t only inarticulate, hoodie-wearing geeks. Their skills protect critical infrastructure, and, ultimately, ensure national security. They are 24/7 uncovering security risks, vulnerabilities and shortcomings in software, devices and computer systems. Through their efforts these are corrected and you are protected. Fortunately there are countless “angel hackers” (Econintersect term).
- Slovakia to EU: We’ll Take Migrants — If They’re Christians (Foreign Policy Passport) Last month the EU announced a plan to resettle 32,000 migrant asylum seekers and Slovakia’s quota was 200. That country has now announced they will accept refugees only if they are Christian. As a side note, the number of refugees in the plan is only about 10% of the number reaching Europe this summer (264,500 crossing the Mediterranean plus several dozen more – uncounted – migrating over land). Econintersect: As with some other “facts on the ground” the EU is in a state denial.
- How Russia Hides Its Dead Soldiers Killed in Ukraine (The Daily Beast) As fighting heats p again in eastern Ukraine, Kiev makes its casualties public, while Russian military deaths in ‘peacetime’ are officially a state secret.
- China facing ‘more severe’ trade situation: commerce ministry (Yonhap News Agency) China’s commerce ministry said Wednesday that the country is facing a “more severe situation” in its foreign trade for the rest of this year, fanning concerns that Beijing could devalue its yuan currency further beyond the surprise cut last week. Econintersect: If China wanted the yuan renminbi to reestablish parity with early 2014 the devaluation would need top be at least 30%. In other words, instead of the current devaluation from 6.21 to 6.40 the change would have to go at least to 8.0.
- China injects nearly US$100b into banks for economy lift (The Business Times) China has injected nearly US$100 billion from its foreign exchange reserves into two policy banks, which lend based on government directives, to help spur the country’s sluggish economy, state media reported. The central bank on Tuesday completed putting US$48 billion into the China Development Bank and US$45 billion into the Export-Import Bank of China. From Wang Shengzu, a China economist at Barclays Capital:
“The injection suggests the central bank is trying to guide funds to go to the real economy, like exports and infrastructure construction.”
- China CO2 emissions: ‘Coal error’ caused wrong calculations (BBC News) Confusion over the types of coal being burned in Chinese power stations has caused a significant overestimation of the country’s carbon emissions. China has been producing 40% less carbon from coal than has been reported previously, and 15% total CO2 emission. That reduces global emissions by more than 1% but still leaves China with the world’s largest carbon footprint, producing 10% of all global emissions. For research details see Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in China (Nature, Letters, 20 August 2015 – Abstract) Full paper here.
- Asian stocks extend selloff as China doubts persist (CNBC) The Shanghai Composite is down 1.55% with less than an hour to close, giving back Wednesday’s gain.
- Is China’s homegrown terrorism problem behind the Bangkok bombing? (Quartz) Are there links between China’s minority Uighur population and the Bangkok bomb that killed 22 people on Aug. 17? That is one of the theories officials in Thailand are investigating. Thai investigators are “focusing on a revenge motive by Uighur militants,” who may have been retaliating for last month’s forced repatriation of Uighur refugees who had fled China.
- Moody’s cuts S. Korea’s growth to 2.5% (MK Business News) Moody’s, the US-based international credit rating agency, lowered South Korea’s gross domestic product growth estimate for this year to 2.5%, down 0.5% points from the 3.0% estimate in May. It also revised down the country’s growth forecast for 2016 from the 3.5% estimate in May to 3.0%. The new estimates by Moody’s are well below those of the Korean government and local think tanks including the Bank of Korea.
- Gov’t debt must not top 40 pct of GDP: finance minister (The Korea Herald) South Korea’s government debt should not exceed 40 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product despite more spending needs and decreased tax revenue stemming from slowing growth, the top policymaker said Wednesday.
- ASX heads for negative year in 2015 (The Sydney Morning Herald) The ASX is on track to finish the year lower for the first time since 2011, prompting investors to ask: what can save the share market? The S&P/ASX 200 index is tracking 0.6 per cent lower this year under the weight of waning, capital-hungry banks, struggling miners beset by lower commodity prices, all against the background of a struggling local economy and a sharply slowing Chinese one.
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