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posted on 18 August 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Up, Trump's Breitbart Hire, Louisiana Coast Sinking, Tx Death Penalty Case, Seattle Min. Wage Analysis, Brazil Holds US Swimmers And More

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Early Bird Headlines 18 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.





  • Trump's Breitbart hire sends tremors through Capitol Hill (The Hill) Donald Trump's campaign shake-up is being seen on Capitol Hill as yet another shot across the bows of the GOP establishment. The changes in effect demote Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman who had been urging Trump to show more restraint, and promote pollster Kellyanne Conway to the position of campaign manager. But the real bombshell came with the recruitment of Steve Bannon, an executive with the conservative news organization Breitbart, as the campaign's CEO. Breitbart has been synonymous with attacks on the GOP leadership, especially in recent weeks and months. A particular foe: Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Back in May, Breitbart drew considerable criticism for a story that suggested Ryan was hypocritical for opposing Trump's Muslim ban while sending his own children to Catholic school.

  • Louisiana's Sinking Coast Is a $100 Billion Nightmare for Big Oil (Bloomberg) The Gulf of Mexico is slowly swallowing the Louisiana coastline due to rising sea levels and erosion. This threatens the existence of Louisiana's huge refining, storage and petroleum shipping businesses. And the state is stuck in a deep deficit and can't do anything to help.

  • Texas death sentence for accessory challenged by defense lawyer (Reuters) Texas is planning to execute a man next week for a murder he did not commit. If the sentence were to be carried out, it would mark the first time in the United States that an accessory with so little culpability to a murder was put to death, his lawyer said. Jeffery Wood, 42, is scheduled to be executed on Aug. 24 by lethal injection. He was convicted of taking part in a 1996 convenience store robbery during which clerk Kriss Keeran was fatally shot. Prosecutors and Wood's lawyers agree that he was in a vehicle outside the store when it was robbed. But prosecutors have said Wood knew the clerk might be shot and Wood's lawyers have refuted their argument.

  • So far, the Seattle minimum-wage increase is doing what it's supposed to do (Jared Bernstein, The Washington Post) Bernstein says that a study often (mis)quoted by minimum wage critics actually shows that the Seattle minimum wage increases have so far raised wages with a minor impact of employment and hours worked. See Report on the Impact of Seattle's Minimum Wage Ordinance on Wages, Workers, Jobs, and Establishments Through 2015. See also Higher Local Minimum Wages: Early Results from Seattle (Timothy Taylor, GEI Analysis) which reviewed the report and came to the same conclusions as Bernstein without expressing a political bias. Bernstein:

Minimum-wage opponents who claim that increases will cripple local economies, either overall or even in their low-wage sectors, thus get no help from the Seattle results. The study's authors point out that one challenge in teasing out minimum-wage effects was that the Seattle economy "boomed" over this period, posting growth rates that "tripled the national average" and "outpaced Seattle's own robust performance in recent years."

  • Who will win the presidency?‚Äč (FiveThirtyEight) Nate Silver's orgainization forecast (polls-only) is little changed fron our last repost Sunday night. The forecast is for Clinton to win 364.9 electoral votes and Trump 172.5. Of course there are no fractional electoral votes, that is just the statistical answer.



  • Merkel says refugees didn't bring Islamist terrorism to Germany (Reuters) Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that terrorism problems predate the arrival of refugees, adding that Islam belonged in the country as long as it was practiced in a way that respected the constitution. More than a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere arrived in Germany last year. The mood towards them has soured after a spate of attacks on civilians last month, including three carried out by migrants. Two of those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State militant group. Merkel spoke at an election campaign event for her Christian Democrats in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ahead of a regional vote on Sept. 4, saying many people had traveled from Germany to Syria for training with Islamist militants. In June Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said a total of more than 800 were believed to have gone to Syria and Iraq:

"This group has worried us for several years. The phenomenon of Islamist terrorism, of IS, is not a phenomenon that came to us with the refugees."

  • Russia, spurning U.S. censure, launches second day of Syria strikes from Iran (Reuters) Russia launched a second day of air strikes against Syrian militants from an Iranian air base, rejecting U.S. suggestions its co-operation with Tehran might violate a U.N. resolution as illogical and factually incorrect. State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Tuesday called the Iranian deployment "unfortunate", saying the United States was looking into whether the move violated U.N. Security Council resolution 2231, which prohibits the supply, sale and transfer of combat aircraft to Iran. Russia bristled at those comments on Wednesday after announcing that Russian SU-34 fighter bombers flying from Iran's Hamadan air base had for a second day struck Islamic State targets in Syria's Deir al-Zor province, destroying two command posts and killing more than 150 militants. See next article.

  • Russia Takes Swipe at State Dept: Check Your Maps (NBC News) Russia took a scornful swipe at the United States on Wednesday, defending its use of Iranian air bases to launch air strikes on Syria and suggesting State Department officials should "check their logic and knowledge" over the issue. A defense ministry spokesman made the remark after his State Department counterpart Mark Toner earlier described Moscow's use of Iranian facilities as "unfortunate, but not surprising". Toner told reporters Tuesday that Washington was looking into whether Russia's move violated U.N. Security Council resolution 2231, which prohibits the supply, sale and transfer of combat aircraft to Iran. Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for Russia's Ministry of Defense, responded Wednesday in a withering statement, saying the U.N. resolution only covered the use of warplanes "inside Iran". Konashenkov unloaded:

"It's against our rules to provide advice to the leadership of the U.S. State Department. But it's hard to resist a recommendation for some State Dept. representatives to check their logic and knowledge of fundamental documents of international law. Moreover, we again advise the State Dept. representatives to take a pencil to the map and discover for themselves that Syria is an independent sovereign state.


  • Brazil police pull U.S. swimmers from flight in robbery probe (Reuters) Brazilian police stopped three U.S. Olympic swimmers from boarding a flight home on Wednesday to question them about inconsistencies in their accounts of being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, police sources said. Federal police also want to question gold medalist Ryan Lochte, but he had already returned to the United States. A Brazilian judge ordered police on Wednesday to seize the passports of Lochte and fellow gold medalist James Feigen so they could be questioned over their description of the robbery, which took place in the early hours of Sunday morning and also involved team mates Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger. Lochte, 32, one of swimming's most decorated Olympians, had flown home already on Monday, a police spokesman said. The other three men were stopped by police at Rio's international airport on Wednesday evening, one police source said.


  • Raped for speaking out against rape (BBC News) A Colombian woman who denounced armed groups for sexually abusing women and girls, was abducted by gunmen and subjected to a terrible punishment. Her story illustrates just how powerful armed groups still are. Even though a ceasefire has been declared between the army and the left-wing Farc rebels, parts of the country remain lawless.

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