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.
Hong Kong and Mumbai Have Some of the Most Unaffordable Housing (Bloomberg) In Hong Kong, Mumbai, Beijing and Shanghai, it now takes more than 30 years for a household with the local median income to buy a 90 square meter (970 square foot) apartment. That's according to Oxford Economics examination of price-to-income ratios across the world.
Trump signs ObamaCare executive order (The Hill) President Trump on Friday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to “ease the burden of ObamaCare". Trump signed the order in front of reporters at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, one of his first official acts as president. The order did not direct any specific actions, instead giving broad authority to the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to take actions available to them under the law to ease regulatory requirements from ObamaCare. It pushes agencies to target provisions that impose a "fiscal burden" on a state or a "cost" or "regulatory burden" on individuals or businesses. It is not clear what practical effects will come from the order.
But the move could eat away at the law's individual mandate by granting more exemptions to people so they do not have to purchase insurance.
Republicans have also said they want to loosen the rules around ObamaCare's requirements on what healthcare services an insurance plan must cover.
Congressional action will be needed to make most major changes to the law.
Trump White House tells agencies to halt regulations (The Hill) President Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, issued a memo Friday night telling federal agencies to not issue any more regulations. Hours after his boss was sworn into office, Priebus told the agencies not to send any regulation to the Federal Register until the rule is reviewed and approved by the new president's appointed agency head. Any rule that’s already been sent to the Office of the Federal Register but not yet published must be withdrawn, the order says. For rules that were published in the last 60 days, Priebus told agencies to publish a notice to delay the effective date of the rule for at least another 60 days. The memo is careful to exclude any rule that's in response to an emergency situation or other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial or national security matters.
As the White House transitions from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, in the social-media age that means another transition - of the @POTUS Twitter account.
At 12:01 p.m., as Trump took the oath of office, the official presidential account switched to President Trump from Obama, who was the first president to use Twitter. All tweets from Obama's term as president are archived under a new account @POTUS44.
Twitter will automatically switch all 13 million followers of the Obama-era @POTUS account to follow both @POTUS44 and the new @POTUS account for Trump. But because Trump's presidential twitter account is essentially brand new, the switch will take a little while.
Trump's @POTUS Twitter account used Obama crowd image (BBC News) This is not what it might seem (probably). When Trump assumed @POTUS not everything was changed promptly (apparently) and the picture of Obama's 2013 inaugiration remained in the masthead. Here is how BBC reported:
Donald Trump changed the image at the top of his new @POTUS account after Twitter users spotted it was from Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration.
Mr Trump inherited the official presidential account at noon, as he was sworn in as America's 45th president.
The original image showed flag-waving crowds in front of the US Capitol.
But it was changed about an hour later, amid claims from Mr Trump's opponents that crowds at his inauguration were not as large as in 2013.
It is not uncommon for the White House to note the accomplishments of the first lady in her official biography, but Trump’s decision to include a detailed list of her media appearances and branded retail goods is unusual.
Early on Friday, the website listed the brand names of Trump’s jewelry lines sold on QVC. But the website was updated after the publication of this story to remove any mention of QVC.
The original passage read: “Melania is also a successful entrepreneur. In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection, ‘Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry,’ on QVC," the site read.
The updated version of the site now says: “Melania is also a successful entrepreneur. In April 2010, Melania Trump launched her own jewelry collection."
HealthCare.gov ends Obama era with year-over-year gain (LifeHealthPro) Managers of HealthCare.gov say the public exchange enrollment system reached Jan. 14 with 8.8 million users enrolled in 2017 coverage or one premium payment away from having 2017 coverage. The activity total is the same as the total the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of HealthCare.gov, announced for the end of 2016, but it's up from a total of 8.7 million recorded a year earlier. CMS set up HealthCare.gov to handle Affordable Care Act exchange plan enrollment for states unable or unwilling to handle exchange plan enrollment themselves. The current open enrollment period is currently set to end Jan.31.
National Park Service Banned From Tweeting After Anti-Trump Retweets (gizmodo) The National Park service retweeted some sick Donald Trump burns, noting how, uh, lightly attended his inauguration was compared to Barack Obama’s in 2009. But now, the NPS has been ordered by its Washington support office to “immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice," according to an internal email obtained by Gizmodo. The NPS later removed the retweets, but one NPS account has already noted it will cease tweeting. [See also Interior Department banned from Twitter after unflattering retweets about Trump (The Washington Post): "The Interior Department was ordered Friday to shut down its official Twitter accounts - indefinitely - after the National Park Service shared two unsympathetic tweets during President Trump’s inauguration."] Here's an offending tweet:
A Greek tragedy: how much can one nation take? (Financial Times) Greece’s economic crisis has disappeared from the minds of many in Europe, but inside the country, the pain is only getting worse. Read how the Dark Ages have returned to Greece.
Explosion in Pakistan market kills at least 20 people (CNN) An explosion ripped through a vegetable market in Parachinar, the capital of the Kurram region in Pakistan's northwestern tribal area, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 40 according to the media wing of Pakistan's military. The improvised explosive device blast occurred in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, where a large number of people had gathered according to Ikramullah Khan, a senior government official in Parachinar. Security forces have cordoned off the area and a search operation is currently under way, Khan said. He added that Pakistan Army helicopters are evacuating the injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Kurram has endured many militant attacks because it is on the border with war-torn Afghanistan.
Philippines - ‘on the map’ (The Volatilian) China’s cartographers will be working on a new version of the map they produced in 2014 to launch the country’s massive ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative - a vast land and ocean enterprise that seeks to connect large parts of Asia to Europe and Africa through a collaboration of trade, technology exchange, people-to-people cooperation and infrastructure building. (The map above is the original. The added Philippine detail represents a guess by The Volatilian™ at what the next version will look like). On that original map the Philippines - like Taiwan - was given a wide berth.
Five Charts Show Lurking Risks in China’s Economic Stabilization (Bloomberg) While gross domestic product growth last year was smack in the middle of the government’s target, debt levels rose to even more stratospheric levels as households took on more mortgages to fuel a property boom. And the nation became more dependent on the cumbersome, inefficient state sector for investment as private companies eschewed spending.
Colombian Human Rights Leader Assassinated (telesur) Afro-Colombian human rights activist Emilsen Manyoma is the latest victim in a wave of attacks against human rights defenders in recent months. On Tuesday police in the Pacific coast city of Buenaventura announced they had discovered the body of Afro-Colombian human rights activist Emilsen Manyoma, 32, and her partner Joe Javier Rodallega, who had been missing since Saturday. From Twitter:
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