Asset Bubbles From Stocks to Bonds to Iron Ore Threaten China – By  John Lyons and  Shen Hong Updated Oct. 31, 2016 11:12 p.m. ET

Investment binge fueled by easy credit and fiscal stimulus increases volatility; prices surge, then slide

Workers in Shenzhen, China, move materials at a construction site in August. The city had the world’s largest increase in apartment prices last year, a sign of China’s housing bubble.

Workers in Shenzhen, China, move materials at a construction site in August. The city had the world’s largest increase in apartment prices last year, a sign of China’s housing bubble. Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

A succession of asset bubbles has formed in China, caused by a torrent of speculative money sloshing from stocks to bonds to commodities.

The biggest apparent bubble is in housing, but prices have surged for niche assets, too, such as calligraphy, antiques and art. In May, futures prices for soybean meal, used as pig feed, jumped 40%. The trading volume of 600 million tons was nine times higher than China’s annual consumption. The pipe-making material PVC is up 40% so far this year on the Dalian Commodity Exchange.

The world’s second-largest economy is slowing. Easy credit and successive fiscal stimuli, designed to keep China aloft, mean it is awash in money that is chasing an increasingly small number of investment opportunities. China’s money supply has quadrupled since 2007, and the new cash is largely trapped inside the country by government capital controls.

“There are very few places left to invest in the real economy, so the money goes into the so-called virtual economy,” said Yang Delong, chief economist at First Seafront Fund Management Co., which manages $6 billion and is based in the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen. First Seafront has sharply cut its stockholdings in the past year and shifted toward bonds and commodities.

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Dakota Access pipeline protesters see bias after Oregon militia verdict – Sam Levin Sunday 30 October 2016 10.42 EDT

Johanna Holy Elk Face couldn’t help but chuckle. The 63-year-old Native American was one of hundreds of activists gathered to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Thursday, when police with tanks and riot gear surrounded them and began making mass arrests


The situation was sad and frightening, she said, but there was a fleeting moment of levity when one officer on the loudspeaker warned the demonstrators not to shoot “bows and arrows”.

“We all laughed,” Holy Elk Face said, noting that she wouldn’t even know how to use a toy bow and arrow.

For some Native American activists, the officer’s comment was the latest sign that a highly militarized police force has little understanding of indigenous culture and is set on treating the protesters like violent rioters, regardless of their tactics.

The notion that the criminal justice system is biased against Native American protesters came into sharp view hours later, when a jury in Portland, Oregon, issued a verdict of not guilty for white militia leaders who staged an armed occupation of federal land to protest government policies.

The fact that protesters with guns were acquitted on the same day police arrested 141 “water protectors”, who have often relied on indigenous songs and prayers to convey their message, sparked a firestorm on social media about white privilege and police brutality against people of color.

At the Standing Rock camps in North Dakota, where the fight against the $3.8bn oil pipeline is escalating dramatically, Native Americans said the Oregon verdict was an infuriating and painful reminder that the law treats them differently – and that the odds are stacked against them in their high-stakes battle to save their land.

‘If native people were armed’

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VICE News Tonight: Who Decides How You Vote? – VICE NEWS Published on Oct 27, 2016

The most important decisions in an election are not always the ones made in the voter booth. Before a single voter can cast their vote, hundreds of minute details have to be figured out.

VICE News correspondent Jay Caspian-Kang traveled to North Carolina, where courts recently banned a restrictive voting law based on the accusation that it was racially biased.

Underneath all of the partisan in-fighting that has dominated this election, who is in charge of deciding how we vote? And does it make a difference?



Would You Want To Know The Secrets Hidden In Your Baby’s Genes? – MARY HARRIS October 31, 2016 3:42 AM ET

Scott Bakal for NPR

Just about every day, genetic counselor Shawn Fayer heads to the maternity ward at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and tries to convince new parents to give him a blood sample.

Fayer is offering gene sequencing for newborns. It gives parents a tantalizing look at their baby’s genetic information.

New parents Lauren and Ian Patrick, from Marion, Mass., were excited when they were first approached earlier this month.

“My initial reaction — why wouldn’t someone do this? Why wouldn’t they want the information?” Ian Patrick says as he cradles his newborn son, Finn. “For me, more information is better, even if it’s not always good.”

If his parents sign him up, Finn would join the BabySeq project, an NIH-funded study led by Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. With genetic testing getting cheaper and cheaper, Green wants to figure out what happens when parents know their child’s genetic blueprint from day one.

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