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Powell told Clinton how to bypass State security measures (The Hill) Former Secretary of State Colin Powell sent Hillary Clinton a detailed explanation of how he got around some of the State Department's security measures in a 2009 email that has become wrapped up in the investigation of Clinton's private email server. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee,released the email exchange in full on Wednesday night. In it, Powell says that he used a private phone line to keep his communications out of the State Department servers. Powell wrote:
"What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient.). So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers."
Percentage of Uninsured Historically Low (The Wall Street Journal) The number of uninsured people in the U.S. remained at a historic low in early 2016, according to a federal survey that found 8.6% of respondents without health coverage at the time of the interview. That translates to about 27.3 million people who lacked medical insurance when they were asked about it between January and March as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey. The previous survey, covering the whole of 2015, had put the figure at 9.1%, or about 1.3 million more people. CDC officials said the latest reduction wasn't statistically significant. The uninsured rate, according to the CDC survey, stood at 16% in 2010, the year the law was passed, and 14.4% in 2013, the year before its main provisions were implemented.
Treated like dirt, these teaching assistants have become the lions of Durham (The Guardian) Hat tips to Owen Jones and Steve Keen. If all goes according to others' plans, Marie will be made redundant at the end of this school term. Then she'll be invited to reapply for her job - with a pay cut of 23%. That's a life-changing drop: the kind that might mean missing mortgage payments, or losing her house. What sort of meaningless work does she do to warrant such disregard? She helps schoolchildren to learn. Marie is a teaching assistant, one of 2,700 TAs across County Durham in line for the chop and drop. I met her and three colleagues (none wanted their real names used) last week, at Marie's house. In one small room there was about 70 years of classroom experience. These are women who teach algebra and French, who look after the coach trips and the school play. The difficult kids spit, swear, even kick them. One morning a mum asked the school if Marie could come round. She was about to kill herself and there was only one woman she wanted to see.
India not ready to privatise public sector banks: Arun Jaitley (Business Standard) India has not reached the point where it can consider selling majority stakes in the public sector banks that control seven tenths of assets in the financial system, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday. The government is consolidating some of the public sector banks to strengthen them, but does not plan to reduce the state's share below a threshold of 52%, Jaitley said in a podium interview.
China imports unexpectedly climb in August, export slump eases (CNBC) China logged stronger-than-expected trade data in August as imports unexpectedly rose for the first time in nearly two years and the slump in exports abated, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing official data. Exports in the world's second-largest economy fell 2.8% in dollar terms on-year following July's 4.4% drop and beating Reuters expectations for a 4% decline. Imports unexpectedly rose 1.5% on-year, reversing a 12.5% fall in July and coming in better than Reuters' estimated 4.9% fall. August's increase was the first on-year rise in imports in dollar-denominated terms since October 2014.
China's state-owned banks cut thousands of jobs (Business Standard) China is trimming jobs. China's biggest state-owned banks retrenched thousands of staff members as the country's banking industry faced its most challenging year amid a slowdown in the world's second biggest economy. The top four national banks, which reported negative to flat net profit growth for the first half of this year, reported a combined total of 22,260 jobs that have been eliminated, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. The redundancies are a cause of major concern because total staff employed by the banking sector was reached a peak of 1.87 million at the end of 2015. As the economic slowdown continued, China has already announced that its plans to cut over-capacity in the steel and coal production could result in 1.8 million job losses. The 2.3 million strong Chinese military too is set to retrench three lakh (300,000) personnel by next year.
Why China's $1 Trillion Merger Makeover Could Fail (Bloomberg) To grasp the scale of the challenges facing Chinese leaders in revamping their sprawling and inefficient state-owned enterprises, consider this: The combined revenue of 100-plus government-owned firms, spanning from train makers to banks and power companies, rivals Japan's entire $4.1 trillion economy. China's SOE sector, traditionally a source of political patronage and economic power for the Communist Party, accounts for about 40% of China's industrial assets and 18% of total employment, according to Bloomberg Intelligence economists Fielding Chen and Tom Orlik. These government creations are also dragging down growth, with their return on assets in 2015 estimated to be at 2.8%, versus 10.6% for private sector-firms. The problem is that little is gained by mergers in many cases and simply shutting down some SOEs would be more effective. But that creates economic dislocations, especially in employment, an is not likely.
Australia's economy continued to expand in Q2 (MarketWatch) There really must be a wizard in Oz. Australia's resource-rich economy expanded in the second quarter of 2016, notching up 25 years since the country last felt the sting of recession. GDP increased by 0.5% in the quarter and by 3.3% from a year earlier, a government report showed Wednesday. Economists had expected 0.6% growth on quarter and a 3.3% on-year increase. The government revised its first-quarter growth figure down to 1.0% from 1.1%.
Mexico's Finance Secretary Resigns After Trump Visit (Associated Press, abc News) One of President Enrique Pena Nieto's closest advisers and confidants, Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray, resigned Wednesday in a move seen as linked to the unpopular decision to invite Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to visit Mexico. Pena Nieto has taken responsibility for inviting Trump, but a former government official familiar with the workings of the administration said Videgaray would have played a preponderant role in the decision. Newspaper columnists in Mexico have reported Videgaray was behind last week's visit, after which Pena Nieto was criticized for not being forceful enough in rejecting Trump's proposals and comments about Mexico.
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