Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/11 - Good News Friday: Syrian Refugees Welcomed In Canada, 'Plant Lamp' Draws Electricity from Soil

Friday, December 11, 2015, 10:42 AM

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header "Good News Friday." We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


Researchers develop antibiotic alternative to treat infections (richcabot)

The researchers optimized the reaction and developed an “e-scaffold,” a sort of electronic Band-Aid made out of conductive carbon fabric. By running electrical current through the fabric, they produced a low and constant concentration of hydrogen peroxide to kill the bugs. The bacteria are unable to develop resistance to such an electrochemical treatment.

Syrian Refugees Greeted by Justin Trudeau in Canada (jdargis)

Under a plan announced by Mr. Trudeau’s new government, a series of flights will bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of this month and a total of at least 25,000 before March. While opposition parties, including the recently defeated Conservatives, have quibbled over timing and details, there has been no significant opposition to the overall aim of accepting the Syrians. And Mr. Trudeau was joined by his opposition critics in the welcoming party.

The IMF forgives Ukraine’s debt to Russia (richcabot)

For over half a year there was a semi-public discussion with U.S. Treasury advisors and Cold Warriors about how to stiff Russia on the $3 billion owed by Ukraine to Russia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. There was some talk of declaring this an “odious debt,” but it was decided that this ploy might backfire against U.S. supported dictatorships.

If voting were mandatory, the U.S. would shift to the left. Discuss. (jdargis)

Our treatment group consists of districts in the canton of Vaud where citizens who did not vote had to pay a substantial fine that was collected by the local police. In the control group, voting was voluntary. In both groups citizens voted on the same policy proposals in federal referendums. So how did compulsory voting affect policy choices?

The fine boosted referendum turnout by 30 percentage points — giving Vaud participation rates of up to 90 percent, exceptionally high levels of civic engagement.

 How to Get Rid of Your Landlord and Socialize American Housing, in 3 Easy Steps (jdargis)

Ostensibly, the government pursues the public interest, but treating real estate as privately owned wealth, as a financial asset, has devastating public effects. On a grand scale, treating land as an asset allows speculators to create bubbles large enough to threaten global economic collapse. The housing bubble—really a land bubble—of the last decade bid the price of land up so high, concocting such dangerous “complex financial instruments” to turn out so many sub-prime mortgages, that the burst was enough to sink some of the world’s most profitable firms, plunge us into the Great Recession, extinguish the majority of all black wealth in the United States, bankrupt pension funds worldwide, and destroy the governments of Greece, Iceland, and other nations.

Key to Success of Climate Pact Will Be Its Signals to Global Markets (jdargis)

Such a transition would fundamentally transform the energy system that has powered the global economy since the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas, now make up about 80 percent of the world’s energy mix. The combined stock value of the world’s coal, oil and gas companies is about $5 trillion. By comparison, stocks related to renewable energy are valued at about $300 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm.

'Plant Lamp' Draws Electricity from Soil (richcabot)

The UTEC researchers hope that their new invention will reduce dependency on dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps. So far, UTEC has produced 10 prototypes of the plant lamp, which have been distributed to families in the village of Nuevo Saposoa.

Change In Legislation Here Gives Miners More Freedom (Josh O.)

Such pro-mining sentiment is all the more important today, given that nearby states like Minnesota and Montana are looking at permitting their first new mines in decades. Supportive moves from Michigan could help sway lawmakers in these places — especially if the economic benefits of increased mineral activity become apparent in the Upper Peninsula.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 12/12/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


thebrewer's picture
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Well groomed refugees

I'm feeling like the video of Syrian refugees deplaning in Canada may be staged. All perfect little families, well dressed, well groomed coming from a ravaged war zone? What's wrong with this picture?

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High-Yield Fund Blocks Investor Withdrawals


High-Yield Fund Blocks Investor Withdrawals

New York Times-19 hours ago
... to yield-hungry investors, have spiked over the past month in the face of concerns that a slowing economy would push many of these companies into default.

Junk Fund's Demise Fuels Concern Over Bond Rout

Wall Street Journal-21 hours ago
The yield spread between junk-rated debt and U.S. Treasurys narrowed to a ... climbed so high, even while default rates remained low,” said Martin Fridson, ...


The ratio of inventories to sales climbs to highest since recession

South Africa's 3-month T-bill avg yield rises to 7.1 pct

Reuters Africa-6 hours ago
... 7.1 percent from 6.63 percent last week, less than the 2.555 million rand of paper on offer, central bank data showed. The bid-to-cover ratio fell to 1.4 from 2.5.

South Africa’s currency is collapsing


Emerging Markets Extend Losses as Domestic Conflicts Worsen Risk

Bloomberg-6 hours ago
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index retreated for a seventh day, led by ... to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries widened six basis points to a ...

Brazil Real Falls as Ministers' Dispute Fuels Political Tension

Bloomberg-1 hour ago
The falling yuan has helped push the yield advantage of China's sovereign debt over U.S. Treasuries to the narrowest in five years, leaving investors with fewer ...

Anglo American Bonds Fall to Record on Moody's Ratings Cut

Bloomberg-57 minutes ago
The falling yuan has helped push the yield advantage of China's sovereign debt over U.S. Treasuries to the narrowest in five years, leaving investors with fewer ...

China's yuan falls to 4½ year low as central bank steps back

Malay Mail Online - ‎13 hours ago‎
Yuan banknotes are seen in this file picture illustration taken in Beijing in this September 24, 2010 file photo. — Reuters pic. SHANGHAI, Dec 11 — China's yuan hit 6.4515 to the dollar in mid-morning trade today, its lowest level in nearly four and ...

Mexico central bank sells additional $200 after peso hits fresh low

Reuters-1 hour ago
The central bank sold the dollars at an average weighted price of 17.3602 pesos per dollar, bringing the total auctioned to $400 million on Friday. The so-called ...

Spain's public debt-to-GDP ratio at 99.3 pct in third quarter

Reuters-6 hours ago
The total public debt came to 1.06 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) at the end of the third quarter, up from 1.05 trillion three months earlier and compared with just 383.8 ...

US budget deficit widens in November to $65 billion

MarketWatch - ‎22 hours ago‎
The U.S. government ran a budget deficit of $65 billion in November, an increase of $8 billion, or 14%, from a year ago, the Treasury Department said Thursday. For the second month of the fiscal year, the government spent $270 billion, up 9% from ...

Treasury to Sell $70 Billion in Debt

Wall Street Journal-22 hours ago
The Treasury Department will auction $70 billion in securities next week, comprising $26 billion in new debt and $44 billion in previously auctioned debt. Details ...

Illinois Pension Liability Now $111 Billion

Peoria Public Radio - ‎4 hours ago‎
He says were Illinois to have paid its part in the past, and was left only paying the regular, annual tab -- known as "normal cost" -- that figure would fall to a couple billion. Court decisions have hindered Illinois' ability to minimize costs by ...

California public pension reform measure can try for ballot

Reuters-15 hours ago
While California's economy has improved in the past few years, public worker pension debt grew to $198 billion in 2013 from $6.3 billion in 2003. Unfunded ...

Korea advised to cut debt levels

Korea Times-7 hours ago
But debt in Korea and other Asian countries has reached threatening levels as they ... Korea went to the IMF to seek a $58.3 billion bailout in November 2007, ...

Most South Koreans short on retirement savings

The Korea Herald-8 hours ago
... to sacrifice their retirement savings for their children's education and wedding costs. ... In October, a report released by the National Pension Research Institute ...

Agency lowers 2016 forecast for Dutch economy, citing gas

Reuters-7 hours ago
The agency said plans by the government to spend 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) ... The national debt will fall to 65.4 percent of GDP, from 66.5 percent this year, ...

Russia's Budget Deficit to Reach $21Bln in 2016 – Finance Ministry

The Moscow Times (registration)-2 hours ago
Russia's budget deficit is expected to reach 1.5 trillion rubles ($21.7 billion) in 2016 with an oil price baseline of $40 a barrel, Deputy Finance Minister Maxim ...

Leaders sound alarm on budget as economists predict billions wiped from revenue (Australia)

Sydney Morning Herald - ‎8 hours ago‎
This week Commonwealth Bank chief economist Michael Blythe told clients he thinks the deterioration in the budget deficit will be about $33 billion over the next four years, "mainly on the revenue side". He said the key assumptions driving budget ...

Sweeney seeks N.J. voter help to fund pensions

Philly.com-22 hours ago
New Jersey's unfunded pension liability - the difference between its current assets and its future obligations - is about $40 billion, according to the state Treasury ...

Lawmakers must prepare now for pension shortages (Oregon)

Ontario Argus Observer-Dec 10, 2015
The result of that ruling, as The Oregonian reported last week, is that the pension system's unfunded liability has nearly doubled, and is likely to exceed $20 ...

Kentucky updates asset allocations for 5 pension funds, trims ...

Pensions & Investments-20 hours ago
... is changing the target asset allocations for its five pension funds with roughly ... Unfunded liabilities for KERS non-hazardous and SPRS increase 9.29% and ...

Beware another cruel blow to city finances

Stockton Record-17 hours ago
One way they deceived cities was to over-promise how much money they could chip in to help defray pension costs — the so-called “discount rate” based on the ...

Thai Stocks Poised to Enter Bear Market as Foreigners Pull Out

Bloomberg-7 hours ago
... Office and the Government Pension Fund have been boosting their overseas .... Keeping such crude on tankers for the same duration cost about $4.65 a ...


Uncletommy's picture
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Nothing's wrong with the picture, just taken at a different time

That's the beauty of pre-screening refugees. Canada is going to spend over a billion dollars, by the time things are said and done and will have their pick of quality material to replace the slow replacement numbers of Canadians. My ancestors left a war torn and starving Europe on leaky boats for New York. The only qualifier was whether they were Protestant or Catholic. As much as the guy bothers me, Trump is just doing what comes naturally to humans.

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The IMF forgives Ukraine’s debt to Russia

I want to clarify that I didn't submit this post as a "Good News Friday" item. The folks at PP chose it from my regular submissions. I consider it an example of the West finding new ways to undermine Russia economically. It's sad, terrifying really, that the IMF took such a blatant step. I guess Christine Lagarde's American connections from her days at Baker & McKenzie have served the US quite well.

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And then there were two.

Dow Chemical and Dupont, giants of chemical and agricultural products, are finalizing a $130-billion merger that would be the 18th largest deal ever. The union would make DowDupont tops in the agrochemical market and challenge Monsanto's seed dominance.

RT. https://www.rt.com/usa/325668-dow-dupont-merger-chemical/

Unless the law is changed to favor the planet over the shareholder I anticipate that it will be a fight between two bad guys.
I'll change my mind if D&D start selling activated biochar and mention the importance of mycelia.

westcoastjan's picture
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re Canada welcoming refugees

You know before foreign nations stuck their faces in other countries business (hello USA), as in Syria, it was a country like any other - full of civilians who were families, teachers, doctors, city workers, engineers, restaurant owners, and everything else under the rainbow in between. By and large their society, aside from being a different race, has total parallels to our own. The majority are good, law abiding people whose main concern in life is raising and supporting their families, being contributing members to their communities, and desiring happiness and good health the same way we do. Education and futures for their kids. A retirement after a hard slog in the working world.

Are there some bad apples in the refugee pool? For sure - just the same as there are in the general Canadian population - and any other country's general population. But the vast majority are good apples, and I expect that they will enrich our nation, one whose history is built on the backs of immigrants. In my own city, Victoria, on the west coast of Canada, there are countless examples of immigrants coming here from all over, buying mom and pop shops & all kinds of small businesses, largely because the owners who built them up want to retire and their kids are not interested in taking over. The people work hard, and are an asset to the community. Many care more deeply about their community than the born and raised locals. 

The extremism and racism we are seeing expressed in the MSM, especially by a person who is purporting to run for what is renowned as the most powerful office in the world is beyond disheartening. It is disgusting. It plays right into and further fuels the protectionist sentiments that arises when economies are tanking. But like it or not this is the path we are on and I fear it will escalate.

These fears and the anger that goes with them will be further exacerbated by ever deteriorating economic news. I predict there will be more incidents of violence and racism as people all over grasp at straws to maintain a standard of living that is not sustainable for 7+ billion people. And these fears will be further stoked and played upon by those vested interests who see war as the answer to our economic ills, and as a means to enrich themselves.

I don't really even know why I am writing this. I guess on some level I wanted to say that in my country we (for the moment) remain the aw shucks, down to earth people that even allows our Prime Minister to be present in an airport to give a symbolic welcome gesture. Was it opportunistic and were good looking refugees chosen? Of course - it's political! But the message was unmistakable as well as inspiring. In light of Paris, of California, and of all other acts of violence, our guy stood up and stuck his neck out.

For that, I am a proud Canadian!



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Arthur Robey
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Wrong Plane.

Chinese firemen spray wrong plane with foam, cause 10hr delay https://www.rt.com/news/325642-chinese-firemen-plane-foam/

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Arthur Robey
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Funny how the internet shapes our perspective. I just watched this video by Mike Mallony on how the Real estate bubble is going to pop in Australia and I do believe that I will delay pulling the trigger on that woodlot that is selling for 4.3 oz of gold per acre.

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Private property

   A link to an article proposing the abolition of private property on this site is quite disturbing.  Holding up a platform of the communist manifesto might just be enough to make me cancel my membership after several years.  I can only tolerate the unscientific approach to climate change ( ie in line with the MSM and no voice to the MANY well qualified scientists with the courage to stand up against the dogma) because there are good solutions to our energy proposals.  But supporting Marx is a "jump the shark" moment.  Very disappointed.

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Linking does not equal agreeing

Hi Rbgodi!

Just because something is linked here (especially if it is linked without comment, like the item to which you're referring) does NOT mean everyone or anyone agrees with the link.

1. Sometimes things are linked just to stimulate thinking and discussion.

2. Sometimes things are linked to show what some people are thinking that nearly everyone here is opposed to. For instance, links to opinion and stories about various governments moving in the direction of banning physical cash are sometimes linked here and no one here ever comes out in support of such radical ideas.  But it's wise to keep an eye on the winds of change in order to get ahead of the curve if necessary.

3. There are some subjects over which there is vigorous disagreement here on PP.com, and sometimes when we're discussing those there's a tendency to throw links back and forth during the "food fight."

Regarding climate change, I for one am in favor of keeping the debate alive and continuing to hear both sides while continuing the research. I would imagine most people here are the same, though there may be a few who just want to shut the other side down permanently.

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Communism on Peak Prosperity????

Amen! Three or four sentences in, I was asking myself, "What the heck is this crap being posted on Peak Prosperity?"

The first thing that hit me was that merit and achievement have gone out the window in this culture.

We are in big trouble here!

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Arthur Robey
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Them thar's fightin' words

Them thar's fightin' words partner. 

There is more than enough Self censorship in the Main Stream Media.  I would hate to see it poison PP.

If you don't like Communism tell us why.  It will get the brain cells working.

I don't like it because the State owns all the assets.  I do like it because the second wife (a Communist Economist) described the USSR as a workers heaven.  Did they have to get out of bed every morning?  Yes. But they also got a lot of cheap perks. For instance first class train  travel in Australia  is only for the Cognisi and Nomenclature.  And that is a product of Capitalism. But in the USSR it was for the worker. 

I'm partial to  Distributism. What are your thoughts on Distributism? 

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So did she live in the USSR? Or just study it?

I ask, because I DID live in the former USSR, with enough vestiges of the old state that I am very aware that:
1) The country was not as portrayed in American media
2) there were very real problems that made it NOT a workers' paradise, though the bit about train travel may be accurate.
3) The US actually is worse than the USSR was. And yes, I love my country, but one part of love involves honesty.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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She was the genuine article

She fled when the USSR collapsed and the rise of Nationalism  put her life in danger. We had many years of blissful mutual incomprehensibility as she could speak no English. We are still friends. I'm too thick to learn Russian.

Our  son flounders between two different worlds.

She was that diminutive person who addressed their congress of thousands outlining the next 5 year plan. 

Michael_Rudmin's picture
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On learning a new language

From what you have said, I take it that she did eventually learn English.  My experience on learning languages is that the best way to approach it is to begin by babbling the sounds you have heard, whenever you are alone.  After two months of babbling, your tongue will know what to do, and you can begin learning in earnest.  I can't say that I have conversational skills at ANY language other than English; but I did learn enough Spanish in this manner, that yesterday I was at a baby shower, and sat with the guys drinking beer outside, and understood that they were talking about questions of whether Catholicism is heretic:  worshipping Mary, trust in works, thinking you can drink today and go to church tomorrow (oh the irony), Priest saying "your sins are forgiven", and so on.  And I could opine on some of them.  I couldn't hold my own:  my language skills aren't that good.  But I wasn't too horrid at it either; and I began by babbling what spanish I heard.

On to the topic of USSR:  From my experience in the Baltic, the Russians who still live there view Russia more favorably than the nationals.  However, all have some level of reminiscing for the USSR, and some level of love for that country, as well as fear and hate of it.  They are also very pragmatic about the good and bad.  Yes, you could travel.  Also, if I understand correctly, you owed the government two years of military service, and 5 years working however they said, wherever they said.  After that, you could hang out your shingle.  And religious oppression WAS bad, but not as bad as described.  As such, Russia was probably more free market than the US.

And in terms of being a "workers' paradise", the weight of injustice was more towards the worker's benefit than the customer's or company's benefit, unless you counted the "government" as the "company".  All those corporate privileges that we have in the US were government privileges there.  All train travel was first class, because if you were a government bigwig, you could get a car.  The workers got outhouses with a hole in a board; the government cultural house had porcelain holes.  And privilege wasn't so much for working as for buttering up the bigwigs on whatever they wanted. 

But if you wanted quality medical care, you'd better figure out to go when it was convenient for the doctors.  They REALLY DIDN'T CARE.  One of my friends there died of mushroom/hydrazine poisoning because the ambulance took her to the state hospital, and they had a rule that they could not mention the existence of a hydrazine antidote, because some couldn't afford it, and the ones who couldn't might feel bad about it.  At that, she might have been okay if they had pumped her stomach, but they refused that because "she's already taken damage, and it wouldn't be worth it."  I got fried during a flurogram, because their machine malfunctioned.  So did the photographic film behind me.  They substituted my photo for another person, and said they needed to do it again because it looked to them like I had TB.  I showed them that the name was someone else, and they said "oops, well we don't have your photo."  I said, "that's because you fried the film; I felt my back popping the whole time you did it."  They said, "well, regardless, we need to fill our records, so we need to do it again."  THEY REALLY DIDN'T CARE.  I instead went to Vilnius and paid several hundred dollars to have an American doctor do it, and prove I was clean.

If that's the level of what you mean by "workers paradise..."  well, you can have it.  I don't want it.



Uncletommy's picture
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Ah, the beauty of social order!

"Costs and risks are socialized, and the profit is privatized. That's called capitalism."  -  Noam Chomsky

Michael_Rudmin's picture
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The beauty of social order

Yes, capitalism -- specifically the reign of capital -- has nothing to do with a free market, but is rather a branch of socialism.


That is why I am very definite that people I discuss economics with, should not accidentally confuse capitalism with a free market.  If they wish to do so on purpose, that is their choice, but I will not participate in their subterfuge.


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