Reuters blog archive
from Photographers' Blog:
San Antonio, Texas
By Jim Urquhart
With each step he learns to take he is that much closer to achieving independence. All he wants is to once again be able to be a soldier in the infantry.
Sergeant (Sgt.) Matt Krumwiede has endured about 40 surgeries since June 12th, 2012, when he stepped on a IED while on patrol in Afghanistan.
During that time he has fought hard to regain his mobility since the pressure plate unleashed about 15 pounds of explosives that tore away both his legs above the knees, ripped muscle and bone from his left arm, taking parts of a finger and a whole finger and ripped his abdominal cavity wide open.
But, despite his injuries he wants to rejoin his fellow soldiers.
For the last year and half Matt has called Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, home. Everyday he gets himself ready and makes his way to formation with many other injured soldiers. From there he attends doctors appointments, physical therapy and occupational therapy. He is learning to walk again with the use of prosthetic legs while also waiting for his abdominal injuries to heal.
from Data Dive:
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits is at a two-month low, data released by the Labor Department this morning shows. From the report:
In the week ending November 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 323,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 344,000. The 4-week moving average was 338,500, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average of 345,250.
Not to mix too many animal metaphors but, generally speaking, monetary policy hawks also tend to bulls on the economy. That is, they are leery of keeping interest rates too low for too long because they believe growth prospects are stronger than economists foresee, and therefore could lead to higher inflation.
That is not the case, however, for Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, a vocal opponent of the central bank’s unconventional bond-buying stimulus program, particular the part of it that focuses on mortgages. He reiterated his concerns last week, saying the Fed should begin tapering in September by cutting out its mortgage bond buying altogether.
U.S. housing sector fundamentals remain favorable despite the recent rise in interest rates and the sharp drop in housing starts in June, says Citigroup economist Peter D'Antonio.
Housing starts fell 9.9 percent to a ten-month low of 836,000 units in June.
But the decline was almost all in the volatile multi-family sector, D'Antonio notes. Single-family starts remained in a range just below 600,000, while multi-family fell 26 percent to 245,000.
from Photographers' Blog:
Ya'an, Sichuan province, China
By Jason Lee
It was 8:02 am on April 20th, 2013, three weeks before the fifth anniversary of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake which killed nearly 70,000 people, when another strong quake hit the city of Ya’an in the same province. More than 190 people died, 21 others are still missing, and more than 11,000 people have been injured.
I must admit when I first heard about the disaster, I was a little reluctant to cover it, hoping that this time it wouldn’t be very serious. The catastrophic images from five years ago were still lingering in my head. However, when the death toll started to climb, I quickly cleared my thoughts and got on the next flight to the quake zone.
from Global Investing:
Taiwan's forecast-beating export data today came as a pleasant surprise amid the general emerging markets economic gloom. In a raft of developing countries, from South Korea to Brazil, from Malaysia to the Czech Republic, export data has disappointed. HSBC's monthly PMI index showed this month that recovery remains subdued.
With Europe still in the doldrums, this is not totally unsurprising. But economists are growing increasingly concerned because the lack of export growth coindides with a nascent U.S. recovery. Clearly EM is failing to ride the US coattails.
Ask top Federal Reserve officials about adopting a target for non-inflation adjusted growth, or nominal GDP, and they will generally wince. Proponents of the awkwardly-named NGDP-targeting approach say it would be a more powerful weapon than the central bank’s current approach in getting the U.S.economy out of a prolonged rut.
This is what Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had to say when asked about it at a press conference in November 2011:
U.S.home resales unexpectedly fell in December, but the drop was not large enough to suggest the recovery in the housing sector is running out of steam.
The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday that existing home sales dropped 1.0 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million units.
After a string of very weak figures in the second quarter, the July employment figures prompted a collective sigh of relief that the U.S. economy was at least not sinking into recession. That doesn't mean the news was particularly comforting. U.S. employers created a net 163,000 new jobs last month, far above the Reuters poll consensus of 100,000. Still, the jobless rate rose to 8.3 percent.
Steve Blitz of ITG Investment Research explains why the underlying components of the payrolls survey offered little cause for enthusiasm:
from Photographers' Blog:
By Denis Balibouse
Would you stand on this ridge?
(Excuse the uneven horizon, it is due to my legs shaking when I took the picture)
A few weeks ago I received an invitation for two conferences from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva from the six astronauts who flew the Space Shuttle Endeavour's last mission in May 2011, which delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station. According to CERN's website this is "an experiment to search in space for dark matter, missing matter and antimatter on the international space station.”