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.
Largest U.S. Fuel Pipeline Shuts After Work Crew Triggers Blast (Bloomberg) The biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S. shut its mainlines Monday after an explosion and fire in Alabama that killed at least one person. Gasoline futures surged and U.S. refiner stocks gained. Colonial Pipeline Co., which carries refined products to New York Harbor from Houston, shut the lines for the second time in two months. A contract crew working miles from the site of a Sept. 9 spill ran into the pipeline with a trackhoe, igniting gasoline and causing a fire, Colonial said in a statement. One person died at the scene and five others were transported to Birmingham-area hospitals for treatment. The spill in September shut the line for 12 days, cutting supplies to 50 million Americans in the Southeast.
Trump raises specter of crisis if Clinton wins the White House (Reuters) Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Democratic rival Hillary Clinton a threat to the country on Monday, saying that if she is elected a probe into her emails could shadow her entire term in office, as the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Clinton's lead narrowing slightly. Trump told a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan:
"The investigation will last for years. The trial will probably start. Nothing will get done. I can tell you, your jobs will continue to leave Michigan. Nothing’s going to get done."
Democrats sue Trump for alleged voter intimidation in four states (Reuters) Democratic Party officials sued Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in four battleground states on Monday, seeking to shut down a poll-watching effort they said was designed to harass minority voters in the Nov. 8 election. In lawsuits filed in federal courts in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Ohio, Democrats argued that Trump and Republican Party officials were mounting a "campaign of vigilante voter intimidation" that violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act and an 1871 law aimed at the Ku Klux Klan. The Ohio Democratic Party wrote in a legal filing (similar language was used in the other lawsuits):
"Trump has sought to advance his campaign's goal of 'voter suppression' by using the loudest microphone in the nation to implore his supporters to engage in unlawful intimidation."
Is the FBI Sitting on a Massive October Surprise for Donald Trump? (Money Morning, Staff Report) According to top Senate Democrat Harry Reid (D-NV), the FBI is withholding an "October Surprise" that would harm GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign ahead of Election Day on Nov. 8. The outspoken Democrat issued a scathing public letter via his own website to FBI Director James Comey yesterday (Sunday). He criticized Comey's disclosure last Friday (Oct. 28) that the FBI is reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails based on new evidence the agency recently obtained. The senator also dropped the bomb that the FBI and national security experts possess "explosive information" about ties and coordination between Russia and Donald Trump and his campaign. Here is the full letter from Sen. Reid from his official website:
Dear Director Comey:
Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another. I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.
The double standard established by your actions is clear.
In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government - a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity. The public has a right to know this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public. There is no danger to American interests from releasing it. And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.
By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible.
Moreover, in tarring Secretary Clinton with thin innuendo, you overruled longstanding tradition and the explicit guidance of your own Department. You rushed to take this step eleven days before a presidential election, despite the fact that for all you know, the information you possess could be entirely duplicative of the information you already examined which exonerated Secretary Clinton.
As you know, a memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates on March 10, 2016, makes clear that all Justice Department employees, including you, are subject to the Hatch Act. The memo defines the political activity prohibited under the Hatch Act as “activity directed towards the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group."
The clear double-standard established by your actions strongly suggests that your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group.
Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter of yours in the past. When Republicans filibustered your nomination and delayed your confirmation longer than any previous nominee to your position, I led the fight to get you confirmed because I believed you to be a principled public servant.
With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong.
On October 12, a YouTube user called “Tea Partier" posted a video titled “Democrats Busted On Camera Stuffing Ballot Boxes". The full video features four soundless, separate clips, each showing people ramming paper into election boxes as the name of a US state is super-imposed on the footage. Two of the videos take place in halls decorated in red, white and blue. The others are clearly identifiable as voting stations.
The only problem? They are all from Russia.
“Tea Partier" regularly posts political news videos relating to the US election, social issues and world events, but doesn’t appear to have any official ties to the Tea Party movement. However, by taking screenshots from key moments in each of the clips and uploading them to Yandex images and Google images, we can track down the original versions of each of the featured clips.
Carney to quit as Bank chief in 2019 (The Times) Mark Carney surprised the government last night by turning down the chance to stay in his post until 2021 after receiving lukewarm backing from Downing Street. The governor of the Bank of England said that he would leave in June 2019 - the earliest opportunity to depart after Brexit. Mr. Carney, 51, was originally due to stand down in 2018 with the option of a three-year extension, which had been backed publicly by Philip Hammond, the chancellor. Last month, however, Theresa May used her speech to the Conservative Party conference to warn of the “bad side-effects" from the Bank’s loose monetary policy and vowed to change it.
Scotland’s not even close to getting on top of fuel poverty - here’s why(The Conversation) In 2002 Scotland announced a plan to eliminate fuel poverty, one of few countries in the world to do so. The government was supposed to have got there by the end of this month, but it hasn’t - not by a long way. The story behind what has happened helps to show why a new approach to this measure of living standards is needed, not only in Scotland but worldwide.
A third of the super-rich face investigations by the taxman (The Times) Tax officials have launched formal investigations into a third of Britain’s wealthiest individuals, the public spending watchdog has announced. About 2,160 British taxpayers, each worth £20 million ($24 million) or more, are facing challenges from HM Revenue & Customs over their financial affairs, with an average of four issues being examined per person. Almost £2 billion is at stake in taxes that have potentially gone unpaid by Britain’s 6,500 high net worth individuals, the National Audit Office (NAO) found. Its report released today reveals that a specialist unit in HMRC that deals with the super-rich last year succeeded in collecting £416 million ($508 million) more than the tax those individuals had voluntarily declared.
China Caixin manufacturing and services PMIs show improvement (CNBC) The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which measures large state-owned factories, came in at 51.2 for October, official data showed. That snapped two months of flat readings and beat market estimates; a Reuters poll of 26 analysts had forecast 50.4, unchanged from August and September. Figures above the 50 level suggests expansionary activity while sub-50 levels indicate contraction. Meanwhile, the Caixin manufacturing PMI rose to 51.2 in October, the fastest pace of improvement since March 2011. A rebound in new order growth amid stronger demand helped the gauge.
Brazil Stock Market Soars (Walter Kurtz, Sober Look, The Daily Shot) Brazilian stocks are up more than 70% since late January.
UPDATE 1-Mexico's economy grows at fastest pace in over 2 years in Q3 (Reuters) Mexico's economy is on track to post its fastest growth in more than two years as services growth picked up in the third quarter even as industrial output shrank, preliminary data showed on Monday. Gross domestic product grew more than expected in a Reuters poll, up by about 1.0% from the prior quarter, according to seasonally adjusted data from Mexico's statistics agency (INEGI). If confirmed by data on Nov. 23, that would be the fastest quarterly expansion since the second quarter of 2014. Economists polled had expected a 0.8% increase in GDP in the July-September period. The economy shrank 0.2% in the second quarter, its first contraction in three years. Graph from The Daily Shot:
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