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.
Asian shares advance after Dow hits 20,000 (CNBC) Japanese and Hong Kong shares were up more than 1 percent on Thursday, taking their cues from the Dow Jones industrial average shooting past 20,000 after a volley of executive orders by President Donald Trump. In currency markets, the greenback was trading weaker against a currency basket, at 99.84. The yen gained against the dollar at 113.37 while the Australian dollar traded at $0.757. On the commodities front, spot gold was under pressure as rising shares eroded the bullion's safe haven appeal. Spot gold was trading at $1,199.45 an ounce down from levels above $1,217 seen earlier this week. Brent futures were trading up 0.53% at $55.37 a barrel on Wednesday during Asian time, while U.S. crude futures gained 0.53% to trade at $53.03.
Trump administration tells EPA to cut climate page from website: sources (Reuters) U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website, two agency employees told Reuters, the latest move by the newly minted leadership to erase ex-President Barack Obama's climate change initiatives. The employees were notified by EPA officials on Tuesday that the administration had instructed EPA's communications team to remove the website's climate change page, which contains links to scientific global warming research, as well as detailed data on emissions. See next item. An EPA staffer told Reuters (adding some employees were scrambling to save some of the information housed on the website, or convince the Trump administration to preserve parts of it):
"If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear."
U.S. government scientists go 'rogue' in defiance of Trump (Reuters) Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial "rogue" Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science. Seizing on Trump's favorite mode of discourse, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and other bureaus have privately launched Twitter accounts - borrowing names and logos of their agencies - to protest restrictions they view as censorship and provide unfettered platforms for information the new administration has curtailed. One anonymous National Park Service employee newly opened Twitter account is @AltNatParkService (first tweet below) and another @RogueNASA account displayed an introductory disclaimer (second tweet below). Two additional accounts are @altUSEPA and @Alt_NASA.
"Can't wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS. You can take our official twitter, but you'll never take our free time!"
"The unofficial 'Resistance' team of NASA. Not an official NASA account. [It beckoned readers to follow its feed] for science and climate news and facts. REAL NEWS, REAL FACTS."
Mnuchin Lied About His Bank’s History of Robo-Signing Foreclosure Documents (The Intercept) Treasury Secretary Nominee Steven Mnuchin lied in his written responses to the Senate Finance Committee, claiming that “OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents," when ample evidence proves that they did. Mnuchin ran OneWest Bank from 2009 to 2015 in a manner so ruthless to mortgage holders that he has been dubbed the “Foreclosure King" by his critics. The robo-signing scandal involved mortgage companies having their employees falsely sign hundreds of affidavits per week attesting that they had reviewed and verified all the business records associated with a foreclosure - when in fact they never read through the material and just blindly signed off. Those records, in many cases, were prepared improperly, but the foreclosures went ahead anyway because of the fraudulent affidavits. Munchin cited review documents clearing the bank from such charges when, in fact, the documents stated that the bank did in fact conduct robo-signing forclosures.
Jihadists crush Syria rebel group, in a blow to diplomacy (Reuters) A powerful jihadist group has crushed a Free Syrian Army rebel faction in northwestern Syria, in an attack that threatens to deal a critical blow to the more moderate wing of the Syrian rebellion and derail new Russian-backed peace talks. The Jabhat Fateh al-Sham jihadist group, formerly known as the Nusra Front, launched an attack on a number of FSA groups in northwestern Syria on Tuesday, accusing them of conspiring against it at peace talks in Kazakhstan this week. The fighting has engulfed the rebels' last major territorial stronghold in northwestern Syria, prompting a major Islamist insurgent faction to warn on Wednesday that it could allow President Bashar al-Assad and his allies to capture the area.
India in red zone on transparency list (The Hindu) A major international index of corruption and transparency has placed India on the watch list for its inability to curb mega corruption scandals and petty bribery. The annual index of Transparency International issued on Wednesday for 2016 placed India with Brazil and China in the 40th position. India’s condition showed growth with inequality, the report said.
Japan PM says free trade talks with U.S. possible (Reuters) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Thursday it was possible Tokyo and Washington could hold bilateral free trade talks in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this week.
South Korea to boost economic cooperation with China amid THAAD concerns (Reuters) Worried that Beijing is punishing it over plans to deploy a U.S. anti-missile system, South Korea on Thursday said it will look to improve communication and cooperation with China to resolve difficulties faced by South Korean companies there. The South Korean government will expand meetings with local businesses doing trade with or in China and engage Chinese officials more frequently in international meetings, South Korea's finance ministry said in a statement released after a regular government meeting on external economic conditions. Beijing strongly objects to South Korea's decision last year to allow the United States to base a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile battery in the country, worried that the system's powerful radar can penetrate its territory. South Korea and the United States say THAAD is only intended to curb the missile threat from North Korea.
China may be developing new long-range air-to-air missile (Reuters) China may be testing a new, long-range air-to-air missile that could take out early warning aircraft and aerial refueling aircraft, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday, after pictures of the new missile surfaced online. President Xi Jinping is overseeing an ambitious military modernization program that includes stealth jets and aircraft carriers. The country has also tested anti-satellite missiles. The official China Daily said the People's Liberation Army had recently posted pictures online of a J-11B fighter carrying a large, unidentified missile during drills last year. Air force researcher Fu Qianshao told the newspaper he believed the missile was designed to hit distant high-value targets, such as early warning aircraft, normally outside actual combat zones. That represents an improved capability over existing Chinese missiles, which have ranges of less than 100 km (62 miles).
The Canadian government is closing seven of the eleven Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries across the country in what they deem a cost-cutting measure. Government officials promised that critical materials wouldn’t be lost, but would instead be digitized, offering greater access. However a document classified as “secret" that was obtained by Postmedia News mentioned “culling of materials" as a main activity in the reduction of libraries. As some of the libraries proceed through the shutdown process, reports have emerged of books being strewn across floors and even piled into dumpsters.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans released a statement saying, “the decision to consolidate our network of libraries was based on value for taxpayers."
Mexicans want their president to cancel Washington visit after Trump touts his wall (The Washington Post) As Mexico's foreign minister was flying toward Washington on Tuesday for his first visit with the new administration, news broke that President Trump, the very next day, planned to order construction of a giant wall across the U.S.-Mexican border. The outrage in Mexico was swift and emphatic. Trump's wall project has been widely condemned here since he announced his intentions during his campaign. But many saw the timing of Trump's presidential action as an added insult - with top Mexican officials in town and President Enrique Peña Nieto scheduled to visit next week. Former officials and top Mexican politicians across the political spectrum demanded that Peña Nieto cancel his visit with Trump after what many considered a slap in the face.
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