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posted on 17 October 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Lower, Elites Losing Control, Dollar Breakout, US Corps Pay Half Of Tax Rate, New Scotland Indy Vote?, Mosul Attack Started, Why Putin Fears Clinton And More

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Early Bird Headlines 17 October 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.



  • Most Asia markets fall; gaming plays weighed after China detains Crown Resorts employees (CNBC) Markets in Asia began the week on the back foot, with gaming shares across the region taking a hit after reports that China was detaining several staff at one of Australia's largest casino companies. Shares of Crown Resorts, fell 13.90% to AU$11.15 ($8.48), after the company told regulators that 18 of its employees, including its executive vice president of the VIP international business, Jason O'Connor, were detained by Chinese authorities. Crown said it was working with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to make contact with them. China's Foreign Ministry told CNBC in an emailed statement that Australian nationals were under criminal detention by the Chinese authorities for their "suspected involvements in gambling crimes". The statement said the case was being investigated.


  • How decadent elites lost control of politics the world over (City A.M.) Until elites find their new Franklin Roosevelt - a man who calmly, stirringly and above all honestly explained to his people their problems and his proposed solutions for them - a man who trusted his electorate, expect the recent pattern of failed referenda to continue. Perhaps the greatest present political risk in the world is the sclerosis of democratic governments everywhere, who have lost their vital Jeffersonian connection with the very people they are supposed to represent.


  • U.S. Dollar Index Registers A Powerful Breakout; Are Stocks, Crude And Silver At Risk? (Seeking Alpha) The author says that we should watch the action in U.S. dollar index closely. It has just given us a breakout. The near-term target is 100.60, but beyond this, with some monetary tightening from the U.S. Fed or currency devaluations from foreign central banks, the index can soar to 110. A strengthening dollar will have negative repercussions on stocks, crude oil, and silver.


  • How corporations rig the rules to dodge the taxes they owe (Economic Policy Institute) any corporations do not pay the official 35% federal tax rate on all their profits (domestic and offshore combined). Citizens for Tax Justice (McIntyre, Gardner, and Phillips 2014) found that Fortune 500 companies that were profitable over 5 years paid a 19.4% federal corporate income tax rate. Using data from Gabriel Zucman (2014) we find that over 2010 - 2013, the effective U.S. federal corporate tax rate was 12.5% - down from 43% in the 1950s. Similarly, the Government Accountability Office (GAO 2014) found that profitable U.S. corporations paid an effective federal tax rate of 14% on their worldwide income over 2008 - 2012. See also next article.

  • The Truth About Corporate Tax Rates (Forbes) It’s a rock-solid fact that the U.S. corporate statutory tax rate is the highest among developed nations and is significantly higher than the average. According to 2014 data from the OECD, the combined federal and state statutory corporate tax rate for the United States is 39.1%. The average of the other 33 members of the OECD is 24.8% - 14.3 percentage points lower than the U.S. rate. Weighted by country GDP, the average for these 33 countries is 28.3% - 10.8 percentage points lower than the U.S. rate. But, on average, the foreign effective tax rate is not much lower than the U.S. domestic tax rate.

  • Who will win the presidency? (FiveThirtyEight) This is the polls-only forecast which has changed little over the past several days.



Click for larger image.



Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement of a draft bill to make a second independence referendum viable unsurprisingly delighted the audience at the SNP conference in Glasgow. But what should the rest of us make of it? My gut tells me Scotland is heading for a vote on independence again, but I wouldn’t yet bet my house on it - the decision remains wrapped up in several unresolved issues.

Above all, the SNP don’t want to hold a second referendum until they think they can win. Support for independence is currently not far from 2014 levels, despite Brexit. It sounds simple to hold back a referendum until enough people tell you they’ll vote yes, but who can say if that’s likely? Many Scots don’t know what their choice will be in a referendum until they can make sense of recent events.

So Brexit might be a game changer in a year or two, but it isn’t right now - according to the latest poll, even a so-called hard Brexit in which the UK leaves the European single market would not be enough to give the yes side a decisive lead. Sturgeon may yet have to choose to pursue a referendum in circumstances she would clearly prefer to avoid: before the polls change in her favor.

  • Soft Brexit will end plan for independence vote (The Times) A second independence referendum will be taken off the table if the UK government secures a soft Brexit, Angus Robertson said yesterday. The new deputy leader of the SNP made clear that the party would be satisfied if Theresa May secured a close, renewed relationship with Europe for either the UK or Scotland. The confirmation will be likely to infuriate some within the party who are adamant that the 2014 referendum be rerun.

  • UK looks at paying billions into EU budget after Brexit (FinancialTimes) A critical part of a "soft Brexit" would keep London's financial sector closely tied to the EU. Britain would continue to pay billions of pounds into the EU budget after Brexit to maintain cherished single-market access for the City of London and other sectors under plans being discussed by Theresa May’s cabinet.


  • Troops in final battle to liberate Mosul from Isis (The Times) The battle to retake Iraq's second largest city from ISIS has begun. As a force of more than 30,000 troops, Iraqi special forces units and militias gathered in their forward staging areas around Nineveh, tens of thousands of leaflets were dropped by Iraqi aircraft over Mosul, warning residents that the final battle was imminent. This is the largest military action in Iraq since the 2003 American invasion.

  • Iraqi general offers Isis an escape route in battle for Mosul (The Times) The option has been taken to try to minimize civilian casualties as fears grow that jihadists could use civilians as human shields.

  • We’re winning the war against Isis in Iraq but the peace has already been lost (City A.M.) It is the saddest, and easiest, prediction to make in global political risk analysis today: we will “win" military victory in Iraq, only to lose the peace. For the dire, ghostly, maddening conclusion must be that the West and its Middle Eastern allies are incapable of learning from history:

The more complicated - and far more important - reality is that, until the political poison that led to the rise of Isis in the first place is creatively addressed, the rest of us are merely mowing the lawn, only to have to again deal with Sunni radicalism further down the line.


  • Why Putin fears a Clinton presidency (CNN) Though Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin seem to agree on a number of issues, there is one they apparently don't see eye to eye on. While Trump argues that Hillary Clinton is too weak to be president of the United States, the Russian President appears to be genuinely afraid of Clinton. Evidence is growing that Russia is actively working to undermine Clinton's presidential prospects. When hackers released the emails of the Democratic National Committee just hours before the Democratic National Convention, internet security specialists found the fingerprints of Russian agencies. Then came the latest hacks of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Some political leaders in Russia are saying the election of Clinton will lead to war.


  • What is a Coup? Analysing the Brazilian Impeachment Process (Counter Punch) The debate over whether the regime change in Brazil constituted a coup hinges on whether the impeachment process used to depose President Dilma Rousseff had democratic legitimacy or was an illicit use of formal procedures to undermine the popular mandate granted to the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) by the Brazilian people in the last presidential election. This analysis concludes that the process was bogus and denies the legitimacy of the replacement regime:

This was an ouster of a president concocted by a vice president and a senator who was caught explicitly proposing the ouster of the president as the best solution to limit the investigations against him and his allies.

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