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posted on 16 January 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Down, Oil And Gold Up, Dollar Down, Obama On 60 Minutes, Brexit Is Getting Harder, Boeing's Big India Order, Shanghai Breaks Support And More

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Early Bird Headlines 16 January 2017

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.



  • Samsung shares drop as arrest warrant sought for Samsung head (CNBC) Samsung shares dropped on Monday after news that a South Korean special prosecutor will seek an arrest warrant for Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee for charges related to an influence-peddling scandal that involves President Park Geun-hye. Meanwhile, Asian markets were tested on Monday as the British pound fell more than 1% on fears of a hard Brexit from the European Union, while shares of Japanese airbag maker Takata tumbled more than 8%. Spot gold, often seen as a safe haven asset, rose 0.73% to $1,206.00 per ounce, compared to prices that ranged from $1,173.46 to $1,195.70 last week. In the broader currency market, the dollar traded at 101.4 against a basket of currencies, while the Australian dollar traded at $0.748.



  • Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal (The Hill) Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has made it crystal clear: If Republicans repeal ObamaCare without immediately implementing a plan to replace it, Democrats will not help them out of a pickle down the road. Senate Democratic sources familiar with Schumer’s thinking say he will not engage in any negotiations to pass a watered-down version of the landmark healthcare reform law if Republicans unilaterally force its repeal first under special budgetary rules.

  • Do Markets Work in Health Care? (The New York Times) David Brooks cites evidence that markets can produce better outcomes at lower cost for non-acute care. But he doubts the political environment can make it work. He concludes:

The harder problem for Republicans may be political. This is a harried society. People may not want the added burdens of making health care decisions on top of all the others. This is a distrustful society. People may not trust themselves or others to make decisions. This is an insecure society. People may not want what they perceive as another risk factor in their lives.

The policy case for the Republican plans is solid. Will they persuade in this psychological environment? I doubt it.

  • Cory Booker’s Bogus Excuse Betrays Progressives (Observer) If Sen. Cory Booker was serious about making a bid for the presidency in 2020, as several pundits have speculated, then he just put a huge dent in his odds of winning. Booker was one of 13 Democrats who voted against an amendment Bernie Sanders proposed that would allow pharmacists to import identical, but much cheaper, prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. In contrast, 10 Republicans voted in favor of the amendment, including Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John McCain. Observer says that loyalty to donors overcame that to constituents.

  • Trump, Putin and the new international order (The Conversation) Here is a critical and very unflattering view from Australia:

If it weren’t quite so serious, it might be amusing. President-elect Donald Trump - the words are still rather difficult to believe - prefers to protect the reputation of one of the US’ perennial foreign policy rivals, rather than that of his own intelligence agencies.

Given what is already known and incontrovertible about the international behaviour of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, this is surprising, to put it mildly. Russia, after a brief moment of apparent political liberalisation in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s demise, has turned into a truculent, authoritarian byword for corruption and geopolitical opportunism.

What explains Trump’s warmth for Putin, and the latter’s apparent efforts to secure Trump’s election victory by hacking into and releasing the embarrassing emails of his Democratic opponents? Given Putin’s apparent loathing for Hillary Clinton, his motives are not difficult to discern, but Trump’s take some explaining.

Even the least-alarming possible explanations are bad, hard to believe, and ought to disqualify Trump from the presidency. At best, Trump has extensive financial links to Russia, as he looked for funding there when American banks stopped lending to him following his multiple business failures. Such links might help explain his reluctance to upset his Russian creditors.

  • Atlanta newspaper enters Trump, Lewis feud with front-page story (The Hill) The front-page article accompanying the headline shown below, reacts to Trump’s criticism of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), after the incoming president said Saturday the longtime congressman does nothing for his district, which Trump said is in "horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested)". The Atlanta Journal Constitution article declares:

“The district that Trump described as in ‘horrible shape’ includes Emory University and Morehouse College, as well as Spelman College and Georgia Tech. The Coca-Cola headquarters is just one of that district’s many, high-profile corporate residents".



  • Preparing for Brexit Just Got Harder (Bloomberg) On Jan. 4, British Prime Minister Theresa May named Tim Barrow, a career diplomat, as the U.K.’s permanent representative to the European Union. It will be Barrow who must talk face to face in Brussels with diplomats from the EU’s 27 other member countries, building bridges with people who still feel bruised and angry at U.K. voters for supporting a referendum in June to quit the union. When his invisible work is done, politicians will step in, and formal negotiations will begin by the end of March. Barrow has just 11 weeks to prepare. His predecessor, Ivan Rogers, quit without warning on Jan. 3 after clashing with May’s office. He was apparently frustrated with the unrealistic attitudes of his pro-Brexit political bosses in London, who cheerfully insist that leaving the EU will be relatively trouble-free.



  • India's Low-Cost Airline to Buy Up to 205 New Boeing Planes (The New York Times) India's low-cost airline Spicejet plans to buy up to 205 next-generation Boeing planes worth $22 billion in a major deal to expand its domestic and international operations. A joint statement by the two companies Friday said the planes booked at the end of 2016 include 100 new Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 42 MAXs, 13 additional 737 MAXs as well as purchase rights for 50 additional planes. SpiceJet is India's fourth-largest airline by number of passengers carried with a market share of 12.9%. It flies more than 300 daily flights to 41 Indian and international destinations.



  • One Chinese city built more skyscrapers in 2016 than the entire U.S. (Curbed) Shenzhen’s building boom shows China’s dominance in a record-breaking year for tall towers. An unprecedented 128 buildings of 200 meters’ height or more (656 feet) were completed around the globe last year. China is the world leader by a wide margin, with 84% of the total stock of new, 200-meter-plus structures going up in that country, including the 111-floor Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre. The city of Shenzhen saw 11 of these towers completed last year. For comparison, seven such structures were built in the entire United States in 2016.

  • China's 'Bad' Break-Trough (Twitter)

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