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posted on 28 November 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Oil And Dollar Lower, Saudis Rethink Oil Cut, Ryan Confused W Medicare And ACA, Will Italy End EU?, Crippling French Strikes, China Coal Surplus, Colombia Peace Deal And More

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Early Bird Headlines 28 November 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.




  • OPEC Seeks Oil Deal as Saudis Open Door for No Output Cut (Bloomberg) OPEC is embarking on a last-ditch diplomatic push to reach a production cut, with ministers flying to Russia for talks, as Saudi Arabia for the first time suggested the oil-club doesn’t necessarily need to curb output. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet on Wednesday in Vienna to try finalize the terms of its first production decrease in eight years. Yet the group remains divided about how to share the curbs internally and Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi oil minister, has opened the door to leave the group’s production unchanged, banking on increasing demand in 2017. See also Dollar, U.S. bond yields drop as oil tumbles on output cut doubts (Reuters)


  • Paul Ryan's Plan to Change Medicare Looks A Lot Like Obamacare (NPR) President-elect Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan agree that repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with some other health insurance system is a top priority. But they disagree on whether overhauling Medicare should be part of that plan. Medicare is the government-run health system for people aged 65 and older and the disabled. Trump said little about Medicare during his campaign, other than to promise that he wouldn't cut it. Ryan, on the other hand, has Medicare in his sights. "Because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke," Ryan said in an interview on Fox News on Nov. 10. "So you have to deal with those issues if you're going to repeal and replace Obamacare." In fact, the opposite appears to be true - Obamacare may actually have extended the life of Medicare.

  • Trump, without evidence, says illegal voting cost him U.S. popular vote (Reuters) Donald is going wild on Twitter again. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 election "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally", though he provided no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The allegation by Trump, who won the required votes in the Electoral College to secure the presidency, comes as Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote over Trump has surpassed 2.0 million votes and is expected to grow to more than 2.5 million as ballots in populous states such as California continue to be tallied.

  • America’s psychological divisions foretell a toxic era of partisan gridlock (City A.M.) This is a view from London:

The political blow to the Democratic Party following its surprise loss to Donald Trump has been cataclysmic.

Rather than holding the presidency and retaking the Senate as was expected, America’s ruling party finds itself shut out of power in every branch of the federal government and at the state and local levels, too. By this yardstick the party has not been in this bad a shape since 1930.

This is a toxic witches brew in a democratic system, as both parties cease to attack each other over policy, and more and more over who they seem to be as people. In such a polarising atmosphere, little enduring can be done over the long term. The greatest single political risk in the world is the United States staring at itself in the mirror.


  • EURO IS OVER: Italy opposition set to push out Renzi AND failing currency after referendum (Express) The Italian referendum will see the euro currency shelved, current Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pushed out, and be the final nail in the coffin for the EU, the man potentially about to seize power in Italy, Matteo Salvini, has claimed. See also article under Italy.

  • Isis files reveal plots against Europe (The Times) Detailed information on Islamic State plots to attack Europe has been extracted from a trove of intelligence material seized from the extremist group in Syria, a British general has disclosed. The latest information includes targets in several European countries, including France. Major-General Rupert Jones, the deputy commander of US-led operations against the militants, said the haul had been retrieved in July by Western-backed Kurdish and Arab militias from the former ISIS haven of Manbij, in the Aleppo governorate of northern Syria.



  • Unions vow to paralyse France after Fillon’s landslide victory (The Times) François Fillon’s landslide victory in the French Republicans party primary last night unleashed the wrath of powerful trade unions that pledged to bring the country to a standstill over his harsh austerity program. When early results suggested that Mr. Fillon had defeated his rival, Alain Juppé, by securing about 67% of the vote, with some areas still to be counted, hardline union leaders urged their members to prepare for the sort of strikes that could paralyze France and bring the government to its knees. They pledged demonstrations and strikes if Mr. Fillon implemented his program of 500,000 job cuts in the public sector and overhaul the welfare system.


  • Fears mount of multiple bank failures if Renzi loses referendum (Financial Times) Hat tip to Sig Silber. Up to eight of Italy’s troubled banks risk failing if prime minister Matteo Renzi loses a constitutional referendum next weekend and ensuing market turbulence deters investors from recapitalising them, officials and senior bankers say. In the event of a “No" vote and Mr Renzi’s exit, bankers fear protracted uncertainty during the creation of a technocratic government. Lack of clarity over a new finance minister may lethally prolong market jitters about Italy’s banks. Italian lenders have more than halved in value this year on concerns about their non-performing loans. Econintersect: If these bank failures took down banks in other European countries (say Deutsche Bank) a new global finacial crisis could unfold. See also article under EU.



  • China May Waste $490 Billion on Unneeded Coal Plants: Study (Bloomberg) China risks wasting $490 billion by building more coal power plants than it needs as slower power demand growth and less polluting energy sources squeeze coal generation out of the power mix, according to a study from an environmental think tank, Carbon Tracker. James Leaton, Carbon Tracker’s head of research, said in a statement:

“There are clear signs that Chinese coal generation is peaking, as the growth in alternative energy sources can meet lower power demand growth during the 13th Five Year Plan which runs through 2020."


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