Written by John Lounsbury
Early Bird Headlines 27 September 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.
- Liberation theology, once reviled by church, now embraced by pope (Al Jazeera) Pope’s emphasis on justice, not charity, reflects evolution of his thinking on radical social change for the poor. Liberation theology calls for the Catholic Church to involve itself in the political and economic as well as spiritual liberation of the poor. The rise of this movement split many Latin American Catholics in the late 1960s, including the Jesuits in Argentina. Some priests wanted to embrace this new political work among the poor, while others wanted to continue with a more conservative spirituality as the educators of the children of the rich elite. When Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) became the leader of the Jesuits in Argentina in 1973 in the middle of this fractious debate, he led conservatives in the Jesuit order in opposition to liberation theology. He now feels he made errors in that regard.
- 6 big emerging global threats to watch (CNBC) European migration, the rise of ISIS, a China meltdown and three other threats are reviewed in an excellent slide show.
- Yellen returns to Washington; questions remain after health scare (Reuters) Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is back in Washington on Friday, a day after receiving emergency medical attention following a speech during which she appeared to lose concentration and which she struggled to finish. A Fed spokesperson would not comment on whether Yellen planned to see a doctor for a follow up check-up, and would not comment on her health beyond last night’s statement that she had felt dehydrated after speaking for nearly an hour at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
- Depths of heroin addiction: US sets record high for opium abuse (Al Jazeera) With overdose numbers continuing to rise, an epidemic is spreading at an unprecedented rate. Heroin use has been climbing among all demographic groups, including women, non-Hispanic whites, and the more affluent. Still, the growth in addiction has been most pronounced among white males between 18 and 25 years old. Some of the areas worst hit are in Appalachia, the Midwest and New England, with a particularly acute 500-percent increase in overdoses in Kentucky. Precursors to heroin abuse are often addictions to other drugs:
- Economy in U.S. Picked Up on Consumer Spending, Construction (Bloomberg) The world’s largest economy expanded more than previously forecast in the second quarter, boosted by gains in consumer spending and construction that may help the U.S. withstand a global slowdown. Gross domestic product rose at a 3.9% annualized rate, compared with a prior estimate of 3.7%, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 3.7% gain. For detailed analysis see GEI Analysis: BEA Deflates GDP Higher and Third Estimate 2Q2015 GDP Revised Slightly Up. Corporate Profits Up.
- Boehner resignation cuts U.S. government shutdown risk (Reuters) The shock resignation of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Friday reduces the chances of a government shutdown next week, potentially removing one source of investor anxiety as Wall Street gears up for a week heavy with economic data and commentary by Federal Reserve policymakers. Boehner said Friday he will step down from the speakership and leave the House at the end of October. This was seen as a sign that Boehner would advance a bill to fund the government without any complicating factors that would result in a White House veto.
- VW scandal exposes cozy ties between industry and Berlin (Reuters) The tight relationship between German auto makers and the government, which some describe as symbiotic, bordering on incestuous, is in the spotlight now, as Volkswagen, the country’s largest carmaker, reels from an emissions scandal that has forced out its long-time CEO Martin Winterkorn and sent its stock careening lower. There are no indications that German politicians were aware that VW was rigging its diesel emissions tests. Merkel and her leading ministers have expressed surprise and indignation at the revelations, urging VW to clear them up swiftly. But authorities in Germany and elsewhere in Europe had known for years about the widening gap between emissions values measured in official laboratory tests and those recorded in a real-world environment.
- India clamping down on critics of Modi, activist groups (Associated Press) Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office last year, more than 9,000 humanitarian and human rights groups have lost their registration to receive foreign funding, effectively shutting many down, and dozens of activists have been threatened with arrest. Teesta Setalvad, a vocal Modi critic, had her home and office raided in July by investigators searching for evidence of embezzlement, and one prosecutor has called for her arrest, describing her as a threat to national security. The government denies efforts to silence dissent.
- China’s economy is stumbling, but by how much? (BBC News) The question that has been worrying financial markets intermittently for the past few weeks has been – will the transition for China from high investment and exports to greater internal consumption be a smooth one, or will China suffer what’s called a hard landing, that’s to say an abrupt slowdown or even a recession? There are a variety of views on this question discussed in this article.
- Thousands march to remember Mexico’s missing students (BBC News) The parents of 43 students missing in Mexico have led a march of thousands of people in the capital to mark one year since their disappearance. The parents want the government to hand over the investigation to a special unit under international supervision. They dispute the government’s account that the students were handed over by police in the city of Iguala to a criminal gang, which killed them. A group of independent experts has suggested the students were killed because they unknowingly took control of a bus carrying illegal drugs, and the government did nothing to protect them.
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