July 5, 2017

Perspective

WSJ – Daily Shot: Credit Suisse – USA Aggregate Net cash and Debt % of Sales 7/3

WSJ – Daily Shot: WEF – World’s most crowded cities 7/3

FT – SF Express uses first China drone license to deliver the goods – Yuan Yang 6/30

  • “SF Express has completed commercial drone deliveries after receiving China’s first drone airspace license, state media reported on Friday.”
  • “China’s logistics and technology companies have announced such delivery services before but little commercial use has followed. However, there are some signs that the SF Express launch was different.”
  • “The granting of the license indicates that national regulators are now more willing to open airspace to drone delivery companies, say analysts.”
  • “SF Express, one of China’s biggest logistics services, flew a fleet of drone models, some of which can carry up to 25kg and have a range of up to 100km, in the southern area of Ganzhou in Jiangxi province.”

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

INET – Jim Chanos: U.S. Economy is Worse Than You Think – Lynn Parramore 6/30

  • “Since the election of Donald Trump, the stock market has soared and many pundits have noted positive economic trends in the US. Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates, known for his financial prescience, is less sanguine.”

NYT – After Killing Currency, Modi Takes a Leap With India’s Biggest-Ever Tax Overhaul – Geeta Anand 6/30

Economist – How fracking leads to babies 7/2

  • “The typical family in America is changing. Couples are increasingly reluctant to seal their relationships with the stamp of marriage, or to tie the knot before having children. In 1960 fewer than a tenth of births were to unmarried women, whereas these days around two fifths of children are born out of wedlock. Economists wonder whether the changing economic fortunes of men might be driving these decisions, but struggle to disentangle the different factors at work. Recently, though, new evidence has emerged on the topic. Did, for example, the fracking boom affect family formation?”
  • “A new study by Melissa Kearney and Riley Wilson, two economists at the University of Maryland, looks at the impact of the recent fracking boom in America, which boosted job opportunities for less-educated men. The economists wanted to see how this affected birth rates, both in and outside of marriage. They compared marriage and birth rates in areas where fracking had boosted the local economy with those where it had not had any effect. The researchers found no effect on marriage rates, though fertility rates did rise. On average, they find that $1,000 of extra fracking production per person was associated with an extra six births per 1,000 women.” 
  • “The result confirms the hypothesis that better economic prospects lead to higher fertility. But it also sheds light on changing social mores in America: good times used to mean more wedding bells and babies, whereas now they just mean the latter. The policy prescriptions are not obvious. Whether or not people get married is their own business. But the finding does offer some comfort to those who worry that declining marriage rates are purely the product of worsening economic prospects for men. Clearly, some other factor is at play.”

NYT – Confidence Boomed After the Election. The Economy Hasn’t. – Neil Irwin 7/4

FT – China was the real victor of Asia’s financial crisis – James Kynge 7/2

Energy

WSJ – Behind Oil’s Ups and Downs, Little Has Changed – Nathaniel Taplin 7/4

  • “If oil heads higher, it will elicit a quick supply response – same on the downside. Nothing in the past six weeks has done much to change that equation.”

Finance

FT – SEC accuses British executive of bitcoin fraud – David Lynch 6/30

  • The fraudster: Renwick Haddow
  • The companies: Bitcoin Store and InCrowd Equity Inc.
  • Caveat emptor

Tech

WSJ – Daily Shot: Credit Suisse – Data Storage Costs 7/3

Health / Medicine

FT – Our digital addiction is making us miserable – Izabella Kaminska 7/4

Religion

NYT – Israel Faces Uproar Abroad as Netanyahu Yields to Ultra-Orthodox Jews – Isabel Kershner 7/3

  • “Jews around the world have been in an uproar in the week since Mr. Netanyahu yielded to pressure from his ultra-Orthodox coalition partners and suspended a plan to provide a better space for non-Orthodox men and women to worship together at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.”
  • “That new prayer space had long been a goal of the Reform and Conservative movements, popular in the West. And in another blow to those more liberal wings of Judaism, the government also approved a contentious bill enshrining the strictly Orthodox Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly over conversions to Judaism in Israel.”
  • “Together, those moves have reawakened a decades-old dispute over who is a Jew. And they have prompted an emotional debate over the nature of the relationship between the world’s Jews and the Jewish homeland — at a time when a right-wing Israeli government, under increased international criticism, has relied on support among the generally more liberal Jewish diaspora in the West.”
  • “The furor over the Western Wall agreement boils down to a refusal by Israel’s Orthodox religious authorities to grant any recognition to Reform and Conservative Judaism. The main prayer space at the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel, has separate men’s and women’s sections, in the Orthodox tradition, and is run like an Orthodox synagogue.”

China

FT – China bans homosexuality, luxurious lifestyles from online videos – Yuan Yang 7/1

  • “Sexual freedom, luxurious lifestyles and portrayals of Chinese imperialism are the latest targets of China’s crackdown on internet video content.”
  • “’Abnormal sexual lifestyles’, including homosexuality, are included among the 84 categories of topics that were banned from online video programs by Chinese censors last week. ‘Unhealthy’ views of the family, relationships, and money are also banned.”
  • “The detailed list is the first issued by government censors to cover the rapidly growing field of internet video, and comes after dozens of the country’s most popular entertainment channels were shut down in an online crackdown that started three weeks ago.”
  • “Beijing has heightened its scrutiny of online content in the run-up to the politically sensitive national congress of the Communist party later this year, analysts say.”
  • “Under the new guidelines, mocking revolutionary heroes is forbidden, as well as portraying ethnic discord or lack of national unity.” 
  • “In particular, programs should not portray ‘the use of military force to conquer others during China’s historic feudal period’.” 
  • “The clause is a veiled reference to Tibet and Xinjiang — two large border regions of China where separatist movements have emerged in opposition to the government’s policies against Buddhist and Muslim citizens.” 

WP – China vows to step up air and sea patrols after U.S. warship sails near disputed island – Simon Denyer and Thomas Gibbons-Neff 7/3

  • “China’s military vowed Monday to step up air and sea patrols after an American warship sailed near a disputed island in the South China Sea in what Beijing called a ‘serious political and military provocation.’”
  • “The past few days have seen a dramatic downturn in relations between the two sides, after the United States announced its intention to sell arms to Taiwan and sanction a Chinese bank doing business with North Korea.” 
  • “Then, on Sunday, the USS Stethem, an American guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, a small isle in the Paracel Islands chain claimed and controlled by China, a U.S. defense official said.”
  • “The Stethem’s patrol marked the second such operation near Chinese-controlled islands in six weeks, after a few months’ hiatus in the wake of Trump’s inauguration.”
  • “China’s Defense Ministry said its armed forces had dispatched two frigates, a minesweeper and two fighter jets to warn the Stethem away.”
  • “The Paracels are among a group of islands and atolls in the South China Sea at the heart of ongoing tensions in Southeast Asia. China claims full sovereignty over the sea and has built fully functional military facilities complete with airfields and antiaircraft defenses on some islands.”
  • Expect the movie WarGames to start trending.

NYT – China’s Vision for a Straddling Bus Dissolves in Scandal and Arrests – Austin Ramzy and Carolyn Zhang 7/4

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