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posted on 02 December 2016

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Oil Eases, More Trump Noms, May Rebuked At Polls, Italy's 5 Star Movmt, Assad's Treachery, India's Currency Mess, Canada's Housing Bubble Popping? And More

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Early Bird Headlines 02 December 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.





  • Trump’s Health-Care Reform Uncertainty Could See Jobs Shrink (Bloomberg) Six years after the biggest overhaul of U.S. health care in half a century, the industry is bracing for more change under President-elect Donald Trump, who wants to tear it apart. As many as 200,000 jobs may be lost in the health-care sector over the next year and employers will slow investment as they wait to see Trump’s clear plan for reform

  • Trump’s Treasury Secretary Pick is a Lucky Man. Very Lucky. (Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica) JE has contributed to GEI. Soon-to-be Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has made a career out of being lucky. Eisinger goes through all the details. This man is either (1) extremely smart; (2) extremely lucky; or (3) the ultimate insider trader. Maybe it's more than one of the three.

  • Trump Announces Mattis Pick at Rally (The Daily Beast) President-elect Donald Trump announced officially at a rally Thursday evening in Cincinnati, Ohio, that he has selected retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis for the position of secretary of defense, despite the fact that his campaign said earlier in the day that no decision had been reached yet. “But we’re not announcing until Monday so don’t tell anybody," Trump told the crowd after making the announcement.

  • Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump (The Hill) Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations if President-elect Donald Trump repeals President Obama’s executive orders on illegal immigration. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both members of the panel, are crafting a bill to shield children living in the country illegally from being deported if they grew up in the United States and have stayed out of trouble. The bill is likely to have the support of another Republican on the committee, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.). He was a member of the so-called Gang of Eight that put together the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013.

  • What Phyllis Borzi has to say about the DOL rule now (Investment News) According to Borzi, Donald Trump will not be able to overturn the Dept. of Labor Fiduciary Rule. The architect of the Department of Labor fiduciary regulation claims it is already paying dividends by lowering costs for investors - and isn't going away.

  • Tired Dem donors feel like their money got burned (The Hill) Democratic donors stung by Hillary Clinton’s upset loss in the presidential race feel like they just set their money on fire. The sore feelings are a huge problem for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which is trying to rebuild its image and reinvigorate a defeated party in time for challenging midterm elections in 2018. It’s also a worry for top liberal activists as they prepare for war with President-elect Donald Trump and a GOP Congress that is hell-bent on rolling back President Obama’s accomplishments.

  • In a race to the finish, Obama administration presses ahead with ambitious rules (The Washington Post) Under consideration are executive actions that would affect land use, private-sector pay and the workplace. They include measures to protect large areas of public land in the American West, bolster energy efficiency for industrial appliances and give greater power to state and local governments to offer retirement savings plans for private-sector workers. The new rules also claw back Wall Street bonuses from executives whose actions hurt their firms, and strengthen standards designed to reduce falls in the workplace.

  • N.C. Governor Loses Re-Election Bid, Attempts to Hold Power by Claiming Voter Fraud (ProPublica) Donald Trump is not the only 2016 candidate to claim voter fraud. Trump claims it cost him the popular vote advantage. North Caorilina Governor Pat McCrory claims it cost him re-election. So far, McCrory’s allegations of fraud have been rejected by the election boards across the state. In North Carolina, the governor appoints five members of the statewide board, which then appoints members of the 100 local boards. On Monday, the state board (appointed by McCrory) ruled that local boards could only toss disputed votes if there were enough of them to determine the outcome of the election at a local level. There has also been a lot of talk that the Republican-controlled North Carolina Legislature might intervene and declare the race for McCrory. While they’ve not said definitively whether they will do so, House Speaker Tim Moore didn’t rule it out in a recent interview with The News & Observer.


  • Lib Dems overturn Goldsmith’s 23,000 majority in shock by-election win (The Times) PM Theresa May got a rebuke last night as the Liberal Democrats defeated Zac Goldsmith by overturning a 23,000 majority last night, claiming that the win sent a clear message to government not to pursue a hard Brexit. Sarah Olney, 39, an accountant who joined the party last year, was elected to parliament with a majority of 1,872, a 30% swing.


  • What is Italy’s Five Star movement? (The Conversation) A party started by an entertainer, attracting people fed up with government. Sound like Donald Trump? Well, it's actually something else. Here's an excerpt:

As populist movements gain strength across the world, attention has turned to Italy, where the government faces pressure from a group known as the Five Star Movement (M5S). Since its inception in 2009, the M5S has risen to become one of the most voted-for parties in Italy. But as the group eyes power, there are questions about whether it would actually be capable of running the country.

The M5S was started in 2009 by comedian Beppe Grillo and web strategist Gianroberto Casaleggio, who had the intuition that the internet could be used as the basis for a new kind of party - one without organisation, money, ideology or headquarters. This encouraged Grillo to use his blog and the social networking site,, to bring people together to campaign on local issues and then field candidates for elections.

The Movement drew initial strength from the twin ideas of a new form of direct democracy and popular disgust with the political elites. Its policies have always been an eclectic mix of the anti-establishment, environmentalist, anti-globalist and eurosceptic, and its supporters have always come from across the political spetrum.

At the 2013 general election, the M5S came from nowhere to become the second most voted for party. Through ups and downs, its poll ratings have stood at around 30% ever since, generally ahead of the centre right and only just behind the centre-left Democratic Party.


Assad tried to ingratiate himself with Western leaders by portraying the national uprising against him as a terrorist-led revolt. When that failed, he released jailed Islamic extremists who’d fought against U.S. troops in Iraq, then staged phony attacks on government facilities, which he blamed on terrorists. Far from fighting ISIS, Assad looked the other way when it set up a state-within-a-state with its capital in Raqqa, and left it to the U.S. and others to take the battle to the Islamic extremists.


  • Iran says extension of sanctions act by U.S. Congress violates nuclear deal: TV (Reuters) Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the U.S. Senate's vote to extend sanctions against the Islamic Republic for 10 years violated a historic nuclear deal reached between the country and six major powers in 2015. Congress members and U.S. officials said the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act, which was passed unanimously on Thursday, would not violate the nuclear agreement, under which Iran curbed its nuclear-power program in return for lifting sanctions.


  • Russia Claims Ukraine Tried to Sabotage Trump (The Daily Beast) Russia’s Foreign Ministry has lashed out at Ukraine for Ukrainian officials’ disapproval of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. In a bizarre rant on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called out Ukrainian diplomats for making “rude" remarks about Trump on social media, according to a transcript posted on the ministry’s website. She then accused Ukraine of going to great lengths to try to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign over the summer, supposedly planting information about Paul Manafort’s shady ties to Ukrainian oligarchs.


  • India’s currency reform was botched in execution (The Economist) India is not the first country to introduce abrupt, drastic reform of its currency. But the precedents - including Burma in 1987, the former Soviet Union in 1991 and North Korea in 2009 - are not encouraging. Burma erupted in revolt, the Soviet Union disintegrated and North Koreans went hungry. All the more reason for Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, to prepare the ground before the surprise announcement on November 8th that he would withdraw the two highest-denomination banknotes (the 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee, worth about $7.30 and $14.60). Yet he did not and the result is a bungle that, even if it does achieve its stated aims, will cause unnecessary harm. The Economist says that PM Modi must take measures to mitigate the damage his rupee reform has done or he may soon become a footnote on the pages of history.

  • Many Ministers had large cash holdings (The Hindu) The Centre’s demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes has forced the country’s population to queue up in front of banks. Politicians and Ministers in particular, seem to be relatively absent from these lines. Publicly available data indicates that a number of Ministers had large cash holdings - not including bank deposits - as on March 31, 2016. The Code of Conduct for Ministers stipulates that they must file details of their assets and liabilities with the Prime Minister’s Office annually. This data, collated by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and accessed by The Hindu, reveals that of the 76 Ministers who are currently serving, only 40 have declared the amount of cash they had in hand. The data also reveals that not everyone in the government’s roster of Ministers shares the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for cashless transactions. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley topped the list with over Rs. 65 lakh ($97.5k).

North Korea

  • South Korea, Japan impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea (Reuters) South Korea and Japan said on Friday they would impose new unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, following a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution imposed on the reclusive country this week. North Korea has rejected the U.N. resolution, aimed at cutting Pyongyang's annual export revenue by a quarter after its fifth and largest nuclear test in September, as a conspiracy masterminded by the United States to deny its sovereignty. Both South Korea and Japan already have comprehensive unilateral sanctions in place against North Korea.


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