News Summary: September 14

News for the Week of 9/14/2015 – 9/18/2015

by David Abuaf

Government / Political / Economic

1.     Egyptian security forces mistakenly killed at least 12 people, including Mexican tourists, in an antiterrorism operation.

2.     Ugh! More than half of students at 347 colleges and vocational schools have defaulted on their loans or failed to pay down any of their student loan debt after seven years.

·       Look, I believe it is FULLY the fault of those individuals, but, perhaps there is a greater issue of colleges and schools charging way too much for attendance!

3.     North Korea said it was developing a new satellite, fueling speculation about a long-range rocket.

4.     Bernie Sanders is backing programs that would require at least $18T in new spending over a decade (for the mathematically disinclined, that’s a minimum of a new $1.8T a year) as he pursues his presidential bid…and there goes his support from common sense folk!

5.     Putin pledged to provide more Russian military aid to the Syrian regime.

6.     North Korea said it restarted its main plant for building nuclear bombs.

7.     The share of Americans without HealthCare insurance fell to 10.4% last year. Median income and the poverty rate remained flat.

8.     According to WSJ: “The second GOP debate turned into a rhetorical scrap in which Trump’s rivals channeled his confrontational style while trying to portray him as unprepared for the presidency”.

General Markets / Economic

1.     China’s plan to overhaul its bloated state companies doesn’t specify whether underperforming firms will be allowed to fail.

2.     US tech companies looking to do business in China are facing demands to help local companies upgrade their skills.

3.     Iran could become a major supplier of natural gas to the EU by the end of the next decade following a nuclear deal with Tehran.

4.     US retail sales posted a 0.2% monthly gain in August as consumers continued to bolster the US economy.

5.     A Ukraine based firm and its chief agreed to settle allegations it traded on illegally obtained news releases.

6.     The Fed kept US rates at zero, suggesting that there are still “global concerns”.

 Company News

1.     Shire is weighing options for sweetening its bid for biotech firm Baxalta by putting cash into shareholders’ hands sooner.

2.     Conde Nast said Bob Sauerberg will take over as chief executive, capping more than a year of management restructuring.

3.     HP outlined plans to slash 25,000 to 30,000 more jobs as the company prepares to split into two separate businesses.

4.     Twitter launched a service to let political campaigns raise cash from users.

5.     GE said it plans to begin moving US jobs abroad, marking an escalation in the fight over the Ex-Im Bank.

6.     Credit Suisse reached a tentative pact to resolve allegations of wrongdoing in its dark pool trading venue.

7.     Brazil’s Petrobas said its chairman has taken a temporary leave of absence.

8.     Airbus will inaugurate its first jetliner production facility in the US, as it seeks greater market share and lower costs.

·       I’m torn. This is great; more jobs in the US, but Airbus isn’t any old company, it is state owned by France and a few other countries. I worry that maybe this might adversely affect Boeing and other US aerospace companies!

9.     Fiat Chrysler and the UAW reached a tentative deal that will eventually remove a two-tier wage system.

10.  Altice is in advanced talks to buy Cablevision, the latest move by the European cable firm to build a communications empire in the US.

·       Suggested at $10B.

11.  HUGE news, AB InBev launched an effort to acquire SABMiller, a combination that would create a behemoth in the global beer market.

Interesting Stories

1.     For travelers who want to visit all 50 states, North Dakota is often the final stop. So tourism officials in Fargo are celebrating that, with the “Best for Last Club”.

2.     Air India has threatened to remove 125 crew members from their jobs if they don’t lose weight, insisting that its BMI requirement is a safety issue – employees have asked the airline to pay for their gym memberships.

3.     The California legislature passed a bill, modeled on an Oregon law, that would legalize Assisted suicide – I presume this will become the next Marijuana/gay marriage fight.

4.     To cut back on partying, schools in Zimbabwe are taking the drastic step of banning breakfast cereal. Why? Students have apparently been fermenting a mixture of cereal, sugar, and yeast into a potent alcoholic beverage. THAT’S FANTASTIC USE OF SCIENCE! Absolutely amazing!

5.     Thieves have been carting off polka-dot mushrooms, yellow bricks, and other props from the aging Land of Oz theme park.

6.     Amazing. Scientists have found a way by which genes can jump between species – nature’s way of creating genetically modified organisms.