Weekend Reading

Here is a list of articles to refill the idea jar:

  • Top US analyst hits back after death threats over Citigroup downgrade
    Meredith Whitney, the analyst who prompted a $369 billion (£177 billion) plunge in the value of US shares on Thursday by issuing a negative note on Citigroup, hit out at Wall Street’s culture of intimidation yesterday after receiving several death threats from investors in the bank.
  • How Canada ignores shady arms sales
    China released a brochure for its latest attack helicopter, the Z-10, last week, and one selling point jumped out: the engine was made in Canada. The news sparked outcry among some U.S. defence analysts who questioned why a Canadian defence contractor, in this case Pratt & Whitney Canada, would be supplying arms parts to China.
  • Could the next President be even scarier?
    As part of her job at an influential national security think tank, Julianne Smith brings politicians and senior policy-makers from all over Europe to Washington for candid closed-door meetings with the policy advisers to the candidates vying to replace President George W. Bush. . . .But by the time the meetings end–be they with advisers to Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, or Republicans such as Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney–the visitors usually have the same reaction, says Smith, the director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The response is usually a little bit of shock and awe and disappointment. They say, ‘What do you mean? We thought this would be a new era!’ “
  • An expensive dinner
    “Until two years ago we had too much food, but it was badly and unequally distributed,” says Abdolreza Abbassian, secretary of the intergovernmental group for grains trade at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN agency. Today about 850m people, mostly women and children, remain chronically hungry while 1.1 billion are obese or overweight.
  • Gene for Left-Handed Trait Discovered
    The gene most closely linked to left-handedness has been found, experts announced this week. The gene, called LRRTM1, is also associated with a slight increase in developing certain mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
  • 405-Year-Old Clam Called Longest-Lived Animal
    A clam dredged from icy Arctic waters is being hailed as the world’s longest-lived animal. Climate researchers at Bangor University in the United Kingdom recently counted 405 annual growth rings in the shells of a quahog clam.