Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
Oil prices fall on stronger dollar; Russia warns of longer crude glut (Reuters) Oil prices dipped in early trading on Friday as a stronger dollar weighed and Russia warned that a global crude supply overhang could last into next year. The dollar has recovered 2.46% in value from May lows against a basket of other leading currencies .DXY, reversing an almost 8-percent fall earlier in the year. A stronger dollar, in which oil is traded, makes fuel imports more expensive for countries using other currencies, potentially hitting demand. International Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading at $47.71 per barrel at 0025 GMT, down 37 cents from their last settlement. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were down 41 cents at $46.29 a barrel. But analysts said that declining output, especially in North America was preventing deeper price falls.
Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News (Gizmodo) Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network's influential "trending" news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site's users. Several former Facebook "news curators," as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially "inject" selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren't popular enough to warrant inclusion - or in some cases weren't trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module. See also Facebook Admits Its Trending Section Includes Topics Not Actually Trending on Facebook [Update: Zuck Speaks] (Gizmodo).
Zuckerberg invites top conservatives to talk and denies Facebook bias (The Guardian) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he plans to invite "leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum" to talk with him about accusations of political bias at the social media company. Zuckerberg made the announcement Thursday evening in a Facebook post that continued to deny the allegations of bias, and the claim that the Facebook trending topics team suppresses conservative news. He wrote:
"We have found no evidence that this report is true. If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it."
Navy fires officer in charge of sailors detained in Iran (CNN) The U.S. Navy officer who oversaw the 10 sailors captured and briefly detained by Iran earlier this year has been relieved of his duties due to "loss of confidence" in his ability, the Navy announced Thursday. Cmdr. Eric Rasch was fired from his job as the commanding officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 and temporarily reassigned. These type of personnel actions typically result in the officer then retiring from active duty. Rasch had recently taken command of the unit after serving as the No. 2 during January when the incident occurred.
Obama Administration to Issue Decree on Transgender Access to School Restrooms (The New York Times, MSN News) In the middle of a legal fight with North Carolina over transgender rights, the Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping decree telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. The letter to school districts that will go out Friday describing what they should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against, signed by officials of the Justice Department and Department of Education, does not have the force of law. But it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration's interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid. See also Bank of America's not giving up HB2 fight: CEO (CNBC).
Boehner: Biden Could Step in if Email Scandal Forces Clinton Out (Roll Call) During a speaking engagement at a conference in Las Vegas, the now-retired Ohio Republican and former Speaker of the House said he "would not be surprised at all" if Clinton "has to withdraw" from the presidential race if she faces charges, according to media reports. Boehner believes two-term vice president Joseph Biden would "parachute in" to take on presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
How Tough Would an Independent Presidential Run Be? (Roll Call) It's already too late to file in Texas and in June 4 more states will pass filing deadlines. An independent run is hardly worthwhile if a candidate waits until after the Republican convention in July when 111 electoral votes will be off the table.
Top Lebanese Hezbollah military commander killed in Syria (Associated Press) Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group said Friday that its top military commander Mustafa Badreddine was killed in an explosion in the Syrian capital of Damascus, a major blow to the Shiite group which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. Badreddine, 55, had been supervising the group's involvement in Syria's civil war since Hezbollah fighters joined the battles along with Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces against militant groups trying to remove him from power, according to pro-Hezbollah media. Hezbollah, along with Iran, has been one of Assad's strongest backers. Hezbollah said several others were wounded in the blast. It said it was investigating the nature of the explosion and whether it was the result of an air raid, missile attack or artillery shelling.
Gandhi Heir Emerges as Threat to India's Modi (Bloomberg) Rahul Gandhi is now emerging as a key threat to Modi, and almost by default a top challenger to replace him in 2019. While the prime minister is still an overwhelming favorite to win another term based on popularity surveys, India's 1.3 billion people - the bulk of whom live on less than $3 per day - have a history of surprising pollsters.
Apple Puts $1 Billion in Didi, a Rival to Uber in China (The New York Times) Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, China's biggest ride-hailing service, moving for the first time into on-demand transportation in one of the largest-ever strategic investments by the iPhone maker. The move is highly unusual for Apple, which has generally been quiet when it comes to deal making. While the company, based in Cupertino, Calif., has bought technology start-ups here and there, its last big investment was the acquisition of Beats, a headphone maker and music service, for $3 billion in 2014. At the time, the Beats deal was also regarded as a departure for Apple. Apple's move into a Chinese company is also notable. Apple is attempting to reinvigorate flagging iPhone sales in China, the company's second-largest market, and just last month Apple shuttered its iBooks and iTunes movie stores in the country.
Mexico warns of repercussions if remittances from US are blocked (Tribune Washington Bureau, MSN News) If a new U.S. administration blocks the flow of remittances - the estimated $20 billion that Mexicans working in the U.S. send home each year - then joint efforts to stop money laundering and other illicit forms of finance will be dealt a dangerous setback, a senior Mexican official warned Thursday. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has vowed, if elected, to make Mexico pay to build a wall along the entire Southwest border, even if it means impounding remittance payments.
Mexico says unhappy with Egypt's response to 2015 attack on tourists (Reuters) Mexico said Thursday that it was not satisfied with the Egyptian government's response to an aerial bombing last year in Egypt by that country's military in which eight Mexican tourists wee killed. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website that it had sent a letter to the Egyptian embassy to express its "surprise and dissatisfaction" with the government's failure to thoroughly investigate the case, penalize the perpetrators and compensate victims. Last September, an Egyptian army aircraft fired on a group parked for a barbecue near a tourist site, thinking they were militants. In addition to the eight Mexicans, four Egyptians were killed. Six Mexicans were wounded. The ministry said that although media outlets had reported on negotiations with one of the victim's families, Mexico did not have any knowledge of the case. The New York Times reported earlier this week that the Egyptian tourism federation would compensate families of three Mexican victims and it was also negotiating with families of the other Mexican victims.
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