What I'm reading: China's debt problem

Caption:A general view shows the Shanghai World Financial Center and the skyline of the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, seen from the 109th floor of the Shanghai Tower (still under construction), covered in smog in Shanghai on October 16, 2014. China has for years been hit by heavy air pollution, caused by enormous use of coal to generate electricity to power a booming economy, and more vehicles on the roads. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN)"Even if China could somehow return to the heady days of 10 percent-plus GDP growth, its debt mountain would by then be nearly unmanageable," writes William Pesek for Bloomberg. "'We've got the biggest debt bubble that the world has ever seen and credit is continuing to grow twice as fast' as output, Charlene Chu, a former Fitch Ratings analyst, told Bloomberg Television earlier this week. Those who believe China can somehow grow its way out of this problem are fooling themselves. 'Mathematically, that's impossible when something is twice as big as something else and growing twice as fast,' as Chu noted."

"Logic dictates that if Russia wants to increase the pressure on Europe, it should try beyond the territory of the former Soviet Union," writes Ivan Krastev in the Financial Times. "It is such a scenario that makes the Balkans a likely hotspot. Russia certainly does not fantasize about bringing Bosnia or Albania into its sphere of influence, and nobody in the Balkans dreams of joining the Eurasian Union. Their major trading partner is the EU — and it is there that businesses look for investment, and would-be émigrés look for new homes."
"As well as being the EU's backyard, the Balkans are the underbelly of Brussels' diplomacy. Their banking systems are fragile. If businesses with large deposits and Russian connections were suddenly to pull their money out, the result could be widespread insolvency, and with it civil strife. Pro-western governments would teeter. This is the place to apply pressure, if Moscow wants to make Europeans feel uncomfortable."
    "Our faces are organs of emotional communication; by some estimates, we transmit more data with our expressions than with what we say, and a few pioneers dedicated to decoding this information have made tremendous progress," writes Raffi Khatchadourian in the New Yorker. "Perhaps the most successful is an Egyptian scientist living near Boston, Rana el Kaliouby. Her company, Affectiva, formed in 2009, has been ranked by the business press as one of the country's fastest-growing startups, and Kaliouby, 36, has been called a 'rock star.' There is good money in emotionally responsive machines, it turns out. For Kaliouby, this is no surprise: soon, she is certain, they will be ubiquitous."