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posted on 06 August 2016

Early Headlines: Olympics Open, 70 Year Commodity Downtrend, Trump Tax Cut, Saudi Arabia Stabilizing Economy, ANC Set Back, Rebels Gain In Aleppo, China Brain Drain And More

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Early Bird Headlines 06 August 2016

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.




  • U.S. Could Exceed Goal of Accepting 10,000 Syrian Refugees (The New York Times) Although having to work through a detailed vetting process, the Departments of Homeland Security, State and Health and Human Services have admitted 8,000 Syrian refugees so far in 2016, on pace to surpass the goal of 10,000. They are part of 85,000 refugees from all countries planned to be settled in the U.S. this year. Donald Trump and others running for political office have been critical of the program.

  • Trump to Deliver One of Biggest Tax Cuts Since Reagan, Aide Says (Bloomberg) Donald Trump will propose one of the biggest tax cuts since the days of Ronald Reagan in a new economic blueprint to be unveiled next week, according to an adviser to the Republican presidential candidate. Trump will reiterate his plan to cut the corporate tax rate to 15%, Heritage Foundation chief economist Stephen Moore said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. At the same time, Trump has managed to whittle down the cost in terms of lost tax revenue by about two-thirds, to $3 trillion, he said, without specifying a timeline.

  • AP FACT CHECK: Hillary Clinton's new email clarifications (Associated Press) Hillary Clinton asserted Friday that FBI Director James Comey said she was truthful in her statements to investigators about her private server and use of private emails - and that those statements were consistent with what she has said publicly. Comey has described Clinton's interview with investigators looking into her email use at the State Department, taking care in testimony before Congress to say that investigators had "no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI". But he has also questioned the accuracy of some of the public statements she's made about the issue. The Democratic presidential nominee was asked about emails Friday during an appearance at a joint session of associations of black and Hispanic journalists in Washington. In answering, Clinton sought to defuse a controversy over recent remarks in which she cited Comey's testimony to demonstrate she was truthful about her private email use and had not put at risk classified information in the messages she sent and received. The AP concludes that Clinton still infers a position by Comey that the AP finds "was not so assertive".

  • Oil and gas drillers plan to add rigs, but it's feast or famine in US fields (CNBC) Many publicly-traded exploration and production companies that have reported quarterly earnings thus far have signaled an intention to stand up more oil and gas rigs, following a 75-percent collapse in the rig count from the highs of 2014. But nearly all of the additions are planned for the prolific Permian Basin of Texas, and in the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale field of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Meanwhile, North Dakota's Bakken formation and the Lonestar State's Eagle Ford will see little increased activity.

  • Why the Rise of the One Percent Makes Janet Yellen's Job Harder (Bloomberg) Income inequality could be making Janet Yellen's job even harder. Greater income inequality means more saving and less spending. Lower spending weakens growth, weighing on interest rates. The graph below shows how income inequality has grown since 1980; income distribution, at least with respect to the very wealthiest, was quite stable from 1960-1980. See also (just posted): Are Spending Habits Changing?

Saudi Arabia

  • Despite Low Oil Prices, Saudi Arabia Stabilizing Economy (Naked Capitalism) This article suggests that Riyadh has lowered its government burn rate, as well as its dependence on oil revenues generally which would allow it to keep the price pressure on longer. The Saudi refusal to cut oil production is what kicked off the oil price plunge and their refusal to relent is a big contributor to the continued low prices.


  • Syria Aleppo siege: Rebels storm artillery base (BBC News) A coalition of Syrian Islamist rebel groups has said it stormed an artillery base in the strategic city of Aleppo to try to end a government siege. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said part of the base had been taken. But the Syrian army said it had repelled the assault, inflicting heavy casualties on the rebels. Some 250,000 civilians live under siege in Aleppo's rebel-held areas since government forces cut them off in July.

South Africa

  • South Africa local elections: ANC suffers major setback (BBC News) South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) has suffered its worst electoral setback since apartheid ended in 1994. With 98% of the votes counted after Wednesday's municipal elections, the party has lost the key battleground of Nelson Mandela Bay to the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). The two parties are in a close fight for Johannesburg and Pretoria. But the ANC is still in the lead nationally, with 54% of the vote. This is the first time ANC has failed to get at least 60% of the national vote. Unemployment and corruption scandals surrounding President Jacob Zuma have tarnished the ANC's image.


  • China tries to end brain drain, lure foreign-educated talent (Associated Press) China, the world's second-largest economy and one of the fastest-growing, sees a need to bring home more of its brightest as it works to transform its largely labor-intensive, low-tech economy into one fueled by innovation in science and technology. Forbidden to study abroad until the 1980s, Chinese students have been attending foreign schools in growing numbers. More than 300,000 studied in the U.S. alone in the 2014-2015 school year. Most of those students return to China, but the country has had difficulty regaining the most coveted graduates - those with advanced degrees and experience in science and engineering. A 2014 report by Oak Ridge Institute shows 85% of the 4,121 Chinese students who received doctorates in science and engineering from American universities in 2006 were still in the U.S. five years later. Still, that marked an improvement: The stay rate had been 98% percent a decade earlier.


  • Opening Ceremony: 'Rio is ready to make history' as Olympic Games begin (CNN) From supermodel Gisele Bundchen's tribute to the "Girl from Ipanema" to the promise of an athletes' forest to be planted after the Games, Brazil's big night saluted the country's past and pointed towards a greener future. A day of protests against the hosting of the Games gave way to a night of pageantry at the Maracana Stadium, albeit on a budget one-tenth the size of the equivalent in London four years ago. This article is accompanied by a nice picture gallery.


  • Mexico's top retailers see strong sales growth on ample liquidity (Reuters) Total sales from Mexico's major retail stores will likely surpass earlier estimates of nearly 7% growth this year, in large part due to abundant liquidity in the economy, the head of retailers association ANTAD said in an interview on Friday. Earlier this year, ANTAD forecast annual growth of 6.9% for total retail sales, and 3.9% growth for sales at stores open at least a year. Data through June already shows total sales growth of 10.1% and same-store sales growth of 6.8%, a trend that ANTAD President Vicente Yanez expects to continue through the remainder of the year.


  • Exclusive: Stiglitz quits Panama Papers probe, cites lack of transparency (Reuters) The committee set up to investigate lack of transparency in Panama's financial system itself lacks transparency, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told Reuters on Friday after resigning from the "Panama Papers" commission. The leak in April of more than 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, dubbed the "Panama Papers," detailed financial information from offshore accounts and potential tax evasion by the rich and powerful. Stiglitz and Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth joined a seven-member commission tasked with probing Panama's notoriously opaque financial system, but they say they found the government unwilling to back an open investigation. Both quit the group on Friday after they say Panama refused to guarantee the committee's report would be made public.

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