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posted on 17 August 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, GOP Workers' Party, Still Looking For Banksters, BoE Bond Purchase Flies, Russia Uses Iran Air Base, Korea 50-Yr Bonds And More

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Early Bird Headlines 17 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.





  • A Republican Workers' Party? (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone) The vampire squid chronicler has another gem on the shifting tide in U.S. politics. Democratic incompetence has made the previously unthinkable possible: Republicans are re-imagining themselves as a labor party.

  • Michael Moore: Donald Trump Never Wanted to Be President (Rolling Stone) Michael Moore has claimed that Donald Trump never wanted to be president, but began his campaign as a way to gain leverage while negotiating a new deal with NBC.

  • What Happened on Wall St. Ahead of the Crisis? We May Yet Find Out (The New York Times) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. The first glimmer of hope that we yet learn more about the Wall Street fraud that helped produce the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 - and this seems truly like just a glimmer - is the unusual request last week by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in the Southern District of New York, to have the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider its May decision to overturn the $1.27 billion verdict against Bank of America's Countrywide Financialin the so-called hustle fraud. That was the case in which 17,000 shoddy mortgages were sold in 2008 to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. More hopeful was federal Judge Robert Sweet's late July ruling to allow an unhappy former shareholder's lawsuit to continue against the defunct Bear Stearns and two of its most senior former executives, James Cayne and Warren Spector. Bruce Sherman - once the firm's largest shareholder - has claimed that Bear and its executives withheld crucial information about its financial condition as it was going down the tubes in March 2008. Mr. Sherman lost something like $500 million when Bear collapsed. (The cost of any verdict against Bear would be borne by JPMorgan Chase, which assumed Bear Stearns's legal liabilities as part of its May 2008 acquisition of the company.) for more on these problems see next article.

  • Greg Palast: A Memo that Confirmed Every Conspiracy Freak's Fantasy (YouTube) Larry Summers met with the heads of the top five U.S. banks to formulate plans to spread bank deregulation globally.


  • BoE hits target with second long-bond purchases (Financial Times) The Bank of England's second effort to buy long-dated gilts proved successful on Tuesday as investors took advantage of the sharply higher prices that followed the central bank's botched first attempt last week. Bondholders offered to sell the BoE more than £3 billion ($4.5 billion), enabling it to comfortably purchase the £1.17 billion of bonds targeted as part of a stimulus program designed to cushion a forecasted slowdown in the UK economy after the June vote to exit the EU. The BoE announced a £70bn bond-buying plan earlier this month alongside its first rate cut in seven years as part of an effort to drive down borrowing costs and encourage investors holding government debt to cash out and put their money into the real economy.

  • What would happen if we abandoned Britain's farms and left them to nature? (The Conversation) Following the Brexit vote, the government has to decide what to do about the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU's subsidy scheme for owners of farmed land. Some of these subsidies support food production while others support environmental protection on land suitable to be farmed. In 2015, British farmers received roughly £3.2 billion from the EU. The author imagines what would happen in the unlikely event that large areas of farmland were simply abandoned.


  • Russian warplanes take off from Iran to target ISIS in Syria (Fox News) Russian warplanes took off on Tuesday from a base in Iran to target Islamic State fighters and other militants in Syria, the U.S. military confirmed -- a move seen as a widening of Moscow's bombing campaign, while drawing Russia and Iran closer as the Obama administration is seeking greater cooperation with Moscow in its fight against the radical insurgents.

  • Iran calls Russia strategic ally in fighting terrorism in Syria (Xinhuanet) A senior Iranian security official said on Tuesday that Iran and Russia are "strategic" allies in fighting terrorism in Syria, local Press TV reported. Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying:

"Tehran-Moscow cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Syria is strategic and we exchange capacities and potentialities in this field."


  • Indonesia vows to defend 'every inch' of territory (The Indian Express) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. President Joko Widodo pledged on Tuesday to defend "every inch" of Indonesia's land and maritime territory, following clashes with Chinese vessels around Indonesian islands in the South China Sea. In a state of the nation address he also said Indonesia was "actively involved" in seeking a peaceful solution to the broader regional dispute about ownership of islands in the Sea. Widodo's underscoring of Indonesia's sovereignty over the Natunas islands - and the resource-rich waters surrounding them - comes at a time of high maritime tensions between Beijing and Jakarta after repeated clashes there.


South Korea

  • Korean gov't seeks to issue 50-yr Treasury bonds (The Korea Herald) South Korea is considering selling state bonds that mature in 50 years as part of efforts to manage fiscal policy in a more stable manner, the finance ministry here said Tuesday. It will decide the exact timing of the issuance and detailed terms and conditions, as well as the amount, after collecting opinions from experts later this month, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.


  • China approves connecting of Shenzhen, HK bourses (Xinhuanet) China's State Council has approved plans to connect the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges, the Chinese premier said Tuesday. The preparation for the launch of the Shenzhen-HK Stock Connect is generally in place, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in remarks at a State Council executive meeting. A similar link between the Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses was launched in 2014. It allows investors on the mainland and those in Hong Kong to trade selected stocks on each other's exchanges. See also China Said to Drop Total Quota for Shenzhen-Hong Kong Link (Bloomberg)

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