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posted on 11 December 2016

Early Headlines: New Oil Pact, Facebook Should Crush Fake News, Trump Vs CIA, Dow 20,000?, Twin Bombings In Turkey, India Currrency SNAFU, New Charges In So. Korea, US-China Trade War? And More

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Early Bird Headlines 11 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, CIA on collision course over Russia’s role in U.S. election (The Washington Post) The simmering distrust between Donald Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies escalated into open antagonism Saturday after the president-elect mocked a CIA report that Russian operatives had intervened in the U.S. presidential election to help him win. The growing tensions set up a potential showdown between Trump and the nation’s top intelligence officials during what some of those officials describe as the most complex threat environment in decades. The Washington Post reported Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency had determined that Russia had intervened in the presidential election not just to make mischief but to boost Trump’s chances.

  • Republican wins La. Senate runoff in final 2016 race (The Hill) Republican John Kennedy is projected to win the Louisiana Senate runoff election, giving the GOP a 52-seat majority in the upper chamber. Kennedy, Louisiana’s state treasurer, defeated Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) on Saturday in the race to replace retiring Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), according to The Associated Press.

  • The Wisconsin recount may have a surprise in store after all (The Washington Post) Thanks to the efforts of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, a recount is underway in Wisconsin. It is highly unlikely to change the outcome - as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has stated - but it is much more likely to overturn some conventional wisdom about counting votes. In particular, we may learn, yet again, that computers are better than humans at counting ballots.

  • The Dow 20000 Man Sees a ‘Safety Bubble’ (The Wall Street Journal) In mid-2012, when Seth Masters said the Dow Jones Industrial Average would cross 20000 by 2020, he took a lot of flak for being a cockeyed optimist. Mr. Masters, chief investment officer at AllianceBernstein’s Bernstein Global Wealth Management, made the call with the Dow at 12500, when stocks were in the middle of a long bull market, and coming off a debt crisis in Europe. Many felt that central-bank policy around the world would cause a meltdown. He still stays with that projection (which he shortened the timeframe for to "before 2018" two years ago), but he also has predicted the bursting of a “safety bubble" in dividend-paying stocks that could slow the Dow’s advance. See also The Week Ahead: Dow 20,000 Just Ahead?.


  • Twin bombing outside Istanbul soccer stadium kills 29, wounds 166 (Reuters) Two bombs exploded less than a minute apart, killing 29 people and wounding 166 outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul on Saturday night, in a co-ordinated attack on police shortly after a match between two of Turkey's top teams. First a car bomb exploded outside the Vodafone Arena, home to Istanbul's Besiktas soccer team, leaving flaming wreckage on the street. Forty-five seconds later, a suspect wearing explosives detonated them while surrounded by police in an adjacent park, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a news conference. President Tayyip Erdogan described the blasts as a terrorist attack on police and civilians. He said the aim of the bombings, two hours after the end of a match attended by thousands of people, had been to cause the maximum number of casualties.


  • RBI Ensures Future Rs 50 Notes Will Be Poor on Quality, Security (Bloomberg) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni who writes: "You can't make this up..." The extreme shortage of new Rs 500 notes in the wake of the ill-planned demonetisation move has forced a panicky Narendra Modi government and the Reserve Bank of India to turn desperate and issue orders that a new series of Rs 50 notes will be printed without a vital step, making counterfeiting relatively easy. Econintersect: The notes are worth approximately $0.75. See next article for reason this problem arose.

  • Demonetisation: Corrupt Deal Disrupted Printing of Rs 500 Notes (The Quint) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. The very slow printing of the new Rs 500 note at the Bank Note Press (BNP) in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, could be attributed to an old, but expensive machine supplied by a Swiss-British joint venture company that was allowed to violate significant tender norms, according to confidential documents in possession of The Quint. The documents, which reveal in great detail the improprieties involved in selecting the company, the Lausanne-based KBA-Giori, which collaborated with the UK-based Thomas De La Rue to form De La Rue Giori, show that a four-set “finishing machine" procured for Rs 400 crore ($64 million) “did not meet tender specifications" and yet was purchased after suspected kickbacks were paid to top Indian government functionaries in 2009.

  • Go digital, even beggar using swipe machine: PM Narendra Modi (The Economic Times) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week referred to a WhatsApp video showing a beggar using a swipe machine to persuade people to shift to digital monetary transactions, insisting Indians do not take long to accept new things if they know the intention behind an action is right. Modi told BJP's Parivartan Rally (which burst into "peals of laughter"):

"I don't know how far it is true but there is a video going viral on Whatsapp of a beggar being told by a man that though he wanted to help, he does not have change. The beggar asks him not to worry and takes out a swipe machine and asks for his debit card."


South Korea

  • South Korea prosecutors charge two former senior Park officials: media (Reuters) South Korean prosecutors have indicted a former senior presidential aide and a former vice culture minister as part of an investigation of a corruption scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment in parliament, media said on Sunday. Park's former senior economic aide, Cho Won-dong, was charged with colluding with the president over attempting to pressure a South Korean conglomerate to dismiss the group's vice chairman, the Yonhap News Agency reported. Former vice culture minister Kim Chong was indicted on charges of abuse of power and coercion, Yonhap and other outlets reported.


  • Heading for Trade War with China (Cato Institute) Hat tip to John O'Donnell. Steve H. Hanke, professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., says the Trump rhetoric (reinforced by others in both parties) will likely lead to a trade war. He suggests that what is not recognized is that China may well follow Japan into a "deflationary quagmire" as a result of the U.S. misguided fixation on the yuan exchange rate.

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