News Summary: September 21

News for the Week of 9/21/2015 – 9/25/2015

by David Abuaf

Government / Political / Economic

1.     The US will boost the number of refugees it accepts to 100,000 a year to help Europe cope with a migration crisis.

·       And 300,000 over the next 2 years.

2.     Russia and Iran have stepped up coordination inside Syria to safeguard Assad’s control over his coastal stronghold.

3.     Russia appears to be expanding its military presence in Syria with two additional bases.

4.     Colombia’s president and the top leader of the country’s FARC rebel announced a breakthrough in peace negotiations.

5.     The Pope urged Congress to act to protect the environment, welcome immigrants, reduce economic inequality, and to “defend life at every stage of development”.

6.     The Senate moved closer to passing a spending bill needed to avoid a government shutdown.

General Markets / Economic

1.     Xi defended Beijing’s economic strategy and said that China’s slowing growth and market moves won’t deter reforms.

2.     Hillary Clinton is proposing rules that would pressure drug makers to spend a set portion of their revenue on research and development (R&D). Yet another reason why politics and economics don’t mix. This means the generic drug makers need to spend a higher level on R&D; it means large pharma companies can’t buy-out other companies who just do R&D – I get that people have a right to say what they want, but don’t they ever question whether what they say makes sense!?

3.     A preliminary measure of China’s manufacturing activity in September was the lowest since 2009.

4.     Existing home sales fell 4.8% in August, with big drops in the West and the South.

5.     Brazil’s CB intervened to try to calm the country’s foreign-exchange market and prop up Brazil’s currency, the Real.

·       Hmmmm, where have we seen this before?  Russia in 1998, Argentina in the 90s and mid 2000s? China in 2011?  Take your pick…hint, they’re all right!

6.     Janet Yellen said she expects a rate increase sometime this year. 

Company News

1.     Starwood Waypoint and Colony are in talks to merge, house rental firms.

2.     Cisco plans to unveil a partnership with a Chinese computer firm.

3.     Chinese titles in Apple’s AppStore were found to be infected with malware, in a rare breach of the company’s mobile platform. This is actually pretty huge news. The whole idea of the AppStore was that Apple would monitor and ensure quality of various applications.  This puts trust in their abilities into serious question.

4.     VW halted US sales of some 482,000 diesel-powered cars as the crisis over alleged cheating on emissions tests deepened.

a.     Now the CEO is fighting for his job, VW will be taking a $7.27B charge and said that now up to 11 million vehicles could be affected.

b.     And he’s been ousted. This scandal is brutal! Talk about losing Goodwill at a breakneck pace!

5.     Dialog is buying Atmel for $4.6B – both are chip makers.

6.     Apple is speeding up its efforts to build an electric car, and targeting 2019 as the shipping year.

Interesting Stories

1.     Three linguists were awarded the Ig Nobel Prize (a parody of the Nobel, given out each year for unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research) last week for discovering that the word huh appears in 31 world languages!

2.     On Tuesday the Dalai Lama surprised a BBC interviewer by hoping aloud that an attractive woman would be his next successor. There’s nothing new about speculating on a female successor, however, the “hotties-only requirement” is new!

3.     A Fayetteville North Carolina HS student faces felony charges for having nude photos of himself on his cellphone.

4.     A federal judge has ruled that the copyrights to “Happy Birthday” are invalid.

5.     Giraffes, long believed to lack vocal communication, were recently found to hum, at an incredibly low frequency at night!