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.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an accident that occurred last summer during the inaugural flight of Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Aquila unmanned solar-powered drone, whose goal is to bring Internet to the remote reaches of the world.
There were no injuries, but the massive drone suffered a "structural failure" as it was coming in for a landing in the Arizona desert and the damage "compromised the airworthiness of the aircraft."
Donald Trump’s media summit was a ‘f - ing firing squad’ (New York Post) Hat tip to Sig Silber. Donald Trump scolded media big shots during an off-the-record Trump Tower sitdown on Monday, sources told The Post. “It was like a f - ing firing squad," one source said of the encounter. “Trump started with [CNN chief] Jeff Zucker and said ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed,’ " the source said. “The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down," the source added. A second source confirmed the fireworks. “The meeting took place in a big board room and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks," the other source said.
Rick Perry under consideration for several Cabinet positions (New York Post) Donald Trump on Monday met with yet another former rival, ex-Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is under consideration for several Cabinet posts, including defense, energy and agriculture. Perry visited Trump Tower along with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a candidate for interior secretary, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Rudy Giuliani, who huddled with the president-elect on Sunday, is now in the running to become director of national intelligence, NBC reported.
“We remain committed to preserving the very substantial degree of monetary accommodation necessary to secure a sustained convergence of inflation towards levels below, but close to, 2% over the medium term."
The ongoing effect of empire - in Britain(The Conversation) The British state, through its empire, has a long history of reducing people - often entire populations - to a state of powerlessness. The author gives an example of her own experience:
If you marry, as I did, a non-British or non-European spouse, make sure you have a minimum income of £18,600 (or £22,400 if you have a child). You’ll also need thousands of pounds of additional cash for visa fees, biometric testing, and the newly-introduced £200 annual “health surcharge" if you want to have the privilege of remaining in your own country with your spouse and not be forced into exile or a life apart from your family.
Bank set to raise savings protection to £85,000 (The Times) The amount of money in a bank that is safeguarded by the government is expected to be raised to £85,000 early in the new year after a sharp fall in the value of sterling following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. The Bank of England said yesterday that it was considering restoring the deposit guarantee limit to £85,000, only a year after it was cut to £75,000. The level of protection on cash held in a bank or building society is fixed across the European Union at €100,000. Member countries’ commitment to that level in euros forced UK regulators to slash the sterling sum to £75,000 after prolonged weakness of the euro.
Prime Minister Theresa May is taking aim at the wrong energy target in tariffs: she should go after green levies and smart meters (City A.M.) Prime minister Theresa May appears to be limbering up for a three-pronged attack on “rip-off" energy firms, broadband providers and housebuilders that stockpile land. On the energy front, speculation has been mounting that the so-called big six energy firms will soon be told to offer fewer, simpler tariffs and make switching suppliers easier for families who are “just about managing". With household energy bills on the rise, it is easy to see why the big six energy firms are in May's sights. According to price comparison service MoneySuperMarket, the average cost of the cheapest energy tariffs available in the UK jumped by 7% between early September and early November. This comes against a backdrop of rising wholesale energy costs, but prices for consumers have risen at a staggering rate. This article concludes:
May seems determined to take a swing at the sector, but to be really effective, she should reduce the government's onerous green taxes on bills and take another look at the potential folly of smart meters.
Angela Merkel to run again: why she’s the antithesis of Donald Trump in a post-truth world(The Conversation) Angela Merkel has finally confirmed that she will run for reappointment as German chancellor in the country’s 2017 parliamentary elections. Many have hoped for this moment, despite the setbacks of the past few years. There is a strong sense that the world needs Merkel now more than ever. She has made some unpopular decisions in her 11 years as chancellor but she is, to many, the antithesis of Donald Trump.
Putin moves his missiles in new threat to Europe (The Times) Russia is deploying short-range ballistic missiles to its western European enclave, it emerged yesterday as President Putin threatened “counter-measures" against NATO expansion. A senior Russian MP said that Moscow would permanently station the nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, a region between the NATO states of Poland and Lithuania, in retaliation for a military build-up by the alliance in eastern Europe.
India’s crackdown on cash corruption is really all about politics (The Conversation) When India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, announced that 86% of his country’s currency would be “just worthless pieces of paper" in a matter of hours, he immediately boosted his reputation as the scourge of tax-evaders and the corrupt. Unfortunately for everyday Indians, the hassle of adapting to the sudden change is bigger than many expected. So far, the upshot has been something approaching a cardiac arrest in India’s informal economy, which by some measures accounts for about 45% of GDP and around 80% of employment, and relies entirely on cash-based transactions. As for cash-based corruption, the policy may not make much difference. Overall, the demonetisation’s greatest impact will be political. In one fell swoop, it has reinforced Modi’s image as a strong and fearless leader who is able and willing to take difficult decisions for the national good. As corruption tops the list of voters’ concerns, that image is a significant political advantage, unless the situation degenerates into riots.
Japan shaken by 6.9 magnitude earthquake, tsunami warning lifted (CNBC) The U.S. Geological Survey initially put Tuesday's quake at a magnitude of 7.3 and later downgraded it to 6.9. But the Japan Meteorological Agency put the magnitude at 7.4. The earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, was centered off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10 km (6 miles) and struck at 5:59 a.m. (2059 GMT) the agency said. The region is the same that was devastated by a tsunami following a massive earthquake on March 11, 2011. A tsunami warning for waves of up to 3 meters (10 feet) was issued after Tuesday's quake but later lifted.
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