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.
Obama administration suspends Pacific trade deal vote effort (Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has suspended its efforts to win congressional approval for his Asian free-trade deal before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, saying on Friday that TPP's fate was up to Trump and Republican lawmakers. Administration officials also said Obama would try to explain the situation to leaders of the 11 other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact next week when he attends a regional summit in Peru. See also Obama Administration Gives Up on Pacific Trade Deal (The Wall Street Journal).
Trump Shakes Up Transition, Begins to Articulate Priorities (Bloomberg) Vice President-elect Mike Pence is replacing Chris Christie as the head of Donald Trump’s transition team as Trump’s influential oldest children take formal roles alongside seasoned Washington hands. Christie will stay on as a vice chairman of the transition executive committee, Trump’s transition office said Friday. The move is a demotion following the conviction of two of the New Jersey governor’s former allies just days before the election on charges stemming from the George Washington Bridge traffic plot. Senator Jeff Sessions, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael T. Flynn, and retired neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson were named other vice chairmen.
Protesters arrested at North Dakota pipeline as decision expected (Reuters) About 40 people involved in protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline were arrested on Friday in rural North Dakota as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would soon clarify its plans for the controversial project near sacred tribal lands. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Amy Gaskill said it would issue a decision on its next steps within a few days, though it would perhaps not be a final decision. And it was unclear if the agency's next action would resolve the question of whether the line can be built as planned under Lake Oahe, where construction ceased in September. In North Dakota, police confronted about 100 protesters barricading a highway adjacent to a construction easement for the pipeline, which has drawn steady opposition from Native American and environmental activists since the summer.
It seemed like an easy win. Just as the UK wrestled with the economic fallout from the Brexit vote, the government had a chance to offer a fillip to one of the country’s struggling industries. But alongside news that work on the £41 billion fleet of Trident nuclear submarines would start at BAE Systems in Cumbria, came an announcement that France would be providing the steel. Rarely has salt been so liberally applied to an open wound.
Trump's rude awakening for Germany (BBC News) There is almost universal shock and horror here. An astounding 96% of Germans opposed the election of Donald Trump. Even Germany's foreign minister (who once described Trump as a hate speaker) could not bring himself publicly to congratulate him. One newspaper headline exclaimed "Oh my God!", another "We're in mourning". Another minister described the result as "a nightmare from which we can't wake up". A poll conducted by national broadcaster ARD found that the majority of Germans don't trust Mr. Trump and that most believe his election will result in a deterioration of the transatlantic relationship. It's a relationship which, for some years now, has fallen into the "special" category.
Iraqi special forces seize Mosul district in fresh push (Reuters) Iraqi special forces said they pushed deeper into Mosul on Friday despite heavy resistance from Islamic State militants using civilians as cover, and were holding half a dozen city neighborhoods seized in the last 10 days. The elite Counter Terrorism Service troops broke through Islamic State defense lines to enter the city early last week and have since been embroiled in a brutal, close-quarter combat with waves of suicide bombers and snipers. The special forces are the spearhead of a wider coalition of 100,000 fighters seeking to crush a few thousand Islamic State jihadists who have ruled Mosul, the biggest city of their cross-border "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria, for the last two years.
Chaos grows, queues get longer at banks, ATMs on weekend (The Hindu) Banks and ATMs on weekend witnessed more chaos and even longer queues as cash-starved people jostled to exchange and withdraw money, even as cash dispensing machines went dry soon after they were stocked due to heavy rush. The usual holiday crush to get cash has the added complication that demand is high in the face of the coming phasing out of some older currency denominations. See next article.
No time to add new security features in notes, says official (The Hindu) An official explained that changing the security features is a huge exercise and takes between five and six years. India is recalling all Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000 notes and replacing them with new currency. Econintersect: The official reason given is to eliminate counterfeit currency and to make worthless black market "earnings" that holders will not want to reveal for replacement for fear of prosecution. Our sources tell us that the numbers simply don't support these as the real motives. We are expecting an investigative article from India that will review this. The new magenta Rs. 2,000 notes have all been printed at a facility in India but, barring the design, the security features remain the same as the old notes, a senior government official told The Hindu:
“Since the decision to introduce the new notes was taken only six months ago, there was no time to alter the security features. Only the design has been changed but the security features remain the same as the old notes."
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