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.
Japanese shares in the red as yen strengthens (CNBC) Japanese shares fell as dollar/yen slipped to a one-month low, after President-elect Donald Trump held a raucous and freewheeling press conference that analysts said was sparse on economic policy details. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, last traded at 101.49, falling as low as 101.28 overnight in reaction to Trump's news conference. Brent futures inched down 0.09% to $55.05 a barrel during Asian hours, while U.S. crude dipped 0.15% to $52.17.
Climate Change Deniers: Even Exxon’s CEO Has Abandoned You (Bloomberg) U.S. secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson briefly laid out his position on climate change at Wednesday’s Senate confirmation hearing in Washington. The former head of one of the biggest fossil fuel companies on Earth acknowledged that additional carbon dioxide is warming the planet but left enough ambiguity to float an oil rig through. His assessment of climate risk and the state of scientific confidence in man-made climate change depart from the most authoritative descriptions of the problem, such as recent reports by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which states:
“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has grown, thanks to more and better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response, and improved climate models."
GOP senators drop push to delay ObamaCare repeal (The Hill) A group of Senate Republicans announced Wednesday night that they are dropping their formal push to delay the deadline for ObamaCare repeal legislation. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said from the Senate floor that they are withdrawing their amendment to a budget resolution after "thoughtful" conversations among GOP senators about how to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
"I know a date has been put in this reconciliation of Jan. 27, and we realize that is not a real date. It's a placeholder."
First Step on Obamacare Repeal Nears Overnight Senate Vote (Bloomberg) The U.S. Senate is on track for an overnight nail-biter vote on the first step toward repealing Obamacare -- even as House leaders were struggling to line up support for a vote later this week. Senate Republicans began the night voting in virtual lockstep to defeat Democratic amendments aimed at defending popular portions of the Affordable Care Act, including expanded Medicaid and Medicare drug benefits and allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26, with dozens more to come. If all senators vote as expected, a budget resolution setting the stage for a followup Obamacare repeal bill would be narrowly adopted and head to the House for potential final approval.
Donald Trump Addresses Dossier’s Pedestrian Claims (Observer) This is an unsympathetic report on the 35-page dosier of "new allegations [that] are largely unsubstantiated and salacious to a degree never seen before about any American president". The author also is outspoken about his call for Trump to release his tax returns. What is so noteworthy about this article is that Observer's publisher is Trump's son-in-law and soon-to-be Whitehouse advisor Jared Kushner.
Trump picks Obama nominee for VA secretary (The Hill) President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his selection of an Obama nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). David Shulkin was nominated by President Obama as under secretary of health for the VA in 2015. Congressmen of both parties spoke highly of Dr. Shulkin after the announcement.
The fear is that this government is letting the NHS reach crisis point in order to open the way for increased co-payments and private insurance, shifting funding responsibility onto individuals, just as has been happening for social care.
Hungary Plans to Crackdown on All Soros-Funded NGOs (Bloomberg) Hungary plans to crack down on non-governmental organizations linked to billionaire George Soros now that Donald Trump will occupy the White House, according to the deputy head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party. The European Union member will use “all the tools at its disposal" to “sweep out" NGOs funded by the Hungarian-born financier, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments". Szilard Nemeth, a vice president of the ruling Fidesz party, told reporters on Tuesday. No one answered the phone at the Open Society Institute (Soros funded) in Budapest when Bloomberg News called outside business hours.
Tillerson Says China Can’t Have Access to South China Sea Isles (Bloomberg) In an apparent toughening of the U.S.’s stance on the South China Sea, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State said China must be denied access to artificial islands built in the disputed waters. Hours into a confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he was grilled extensively about his views on Russia, former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief Rex Tillerson said that a failure to respond to China’s actions had allowed it to "keep pushing the envelope" in the South China Sea.
Mexico's president: We will not pay for the wall (The Hill) Mexico’s president said Wednesday that his country will not pay for a wall on its border with the United States, despite President-elect Donald Trump's promises that the country would cover the cost of the project. President Enrique Peña Nieto said during a speech at the National Palace, according to CNN:
"It is evident that we have some differences with the new government of the United States, like the topic of the wall, that Mexico of course will not pay."
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