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posted on 31 January 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Down, Dollar Steady, Oil Down, More Trump Ban Turmoil, Steve Bannon On NSC, Poll Favors Trump Ban, EU Warns FB, UK Confid. Up, New Greek Crisis? And More

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Early Bird Headlines 31 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.



  • Asia markets close down; Nikkei off by 1.7% as yen strengthens; BOJ keeps policy steady (CNBC) Asia markets fell on Tuesday, with Japanese shares dropping sharply, tracking declines on Wall Street overnight on jitters over a new immigration measure taken by the Trump administration. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell slightly to 100.37. On Tuesday, U.S. crude continued itsdownward trend, shedding 0.44% to $52.40 a barrel, after finishing down 54 cents a barrel during U.S. hours on Monday. Global benchmark Brent slipped 0.18%t on Tuesday to $55.13.



  • Acting attorney general orders DOJ not to defend Trump's travel ban (The Hill) Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees in court. Yates, a veteran of the department who was appointed by former President Obama, sent a letter Monday to officials in the department laying out her orders, The New York Times first reported. Shortly after, she was removed from the post by Trump. The extraordinary move by Yates comes at a time when Trump's immigration order, released late Friday, is reverberating across the government. More than 100 officials in the State Department have reportedly signed onto a draft memo protesting the policy, drawing a rebuke Monday from the White House. See also Fired: Trump dumps top lawyer who defied immigration order (Reuters).

  • Exclusive: Trump administration to allow 872 refugees into U.S. this week - document (Reuters) The U.S. government has granted waivers to let 872 refugees into the country this week, despite President Donald Trump's executive order on Friday temporarily banning entry of refugees from any country, according to an internal Department of Homeland Security document seen by Reuters. A Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the waivers, noting that the refugees were considered "in transit" and had already been cleared for resettlement before the ban took effect. Refugees preparing for resettlement typically have severed personal ties and relinquished their possessions, leaving them particularly vulnerable if their plans to depart are suddenly canceled.

  • Immigration officials coerced Yemenis to sign away green cards, suit claims (The Guardian) Two Yemeni brothers detained by US immigration officials on Saturday were unlawfully coerced into relinquishing their green cards and forced to return to Ethiopia just hours after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim majority countries, a lawsuit has claimed. Tareq Aziz, 21, and Ammar Aziz, 19, were handcuffed, detained and “forced to sign papers that they neither read nor understood" and then placed on a flight back to Addis Ababa hours after arriving at Dulles international airport in Virginia on Saturday morning, lawyers contend. The brothers were en route to Michigan to reunite with their father, Aqel Aziz, a US citizen based in Flint. Both had been granted permanent residency after applying for green cards at the US embassy in Djibouti, the East African nation to where tens of thousands of Yemenis have fled during the country’s bloody civil war.

  • As Silicon Valley Spoke Up On The Immigration Ban, Corporate America Stayed Quiet (BuzzFeed) The tech community debated whether its leaders should say more, but most corporate giants just said nothing at all.

  • White House says no changes to NSC, but Trump's is different (Reuters) White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday tried to tamp down the furor over President Donald Trump's reorganization of the National Security Council, saying "nothing has changed." A comparison of Trump's order with documents from the Bush and Obama administrations, however, shows that is not entirely accurate. Unlike President Barack Obama, but like President George W. Bush, Trump did not make the U.S. Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff regular members of the cabinet-level Principals Committee. But Trump's directive gives an unprecedented NSC role to a political advisor, Steve Bannon, who headed Breitbart News, a website and voice for the alt-right movement, a loose confederation that includes hardcore nationalists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and anti-Semites. Critics of the move say it could allow domestic politics to influence national security and puts a political adviser on par with other Cabinet level officials. See also Shock and alarm at Bannon’s new role (The Hill).

  • Poll: Americans Favor Suspending Immigration From Terror Regions (NewsMax) American voters support 48%-42% "suspending immigration from 'terror-prone' regions", even if it means turning away refugees from those areas, a Quinnipiac University poll revealed.


  • European Commission fires warning at Facebook over fake news (Financial Times) The EU’s digital chief has warned Facebook and other social media companies they must take a stronger stance against fake news or face action from Brussels. Andrus Ansip, the European commissioner who leads the portfolio, told the Financial Times that recent events could be a “turning point" for online platforms that risked losing trust unless they took greater responsibility.


  • Consumer confidence climbed this month, but signs point to slowing spending in 2017 (City A.M.) Overall consumer confidence edged up this month, but Britons showed they have less faith in making major purchases, signalling a spending slowdown in the year ahead, a new report suggests. GfK's consumer confidence index, published today, climbed two points to minus five in January. Three of the five measures experienced increases this month, one was unchanged and one decreased. It was the major purchase index, which measures consumers' intentions to spend big on pricey items like TVs and cars, that fell two points this month to 10 (six points lower than this time last year). Joe Staton, head of market dynamics at GfK said this could be a sign of slowing consumer spending throughout 2017.

  • Why British criticism of Trump’s anti-refugee stance is so hypocritical (The Conversation) Protests in the UK against the Trump immigration decree are hypocritical. Given the scale of the outflows of people from Syria, with much less fanfare, the UK has effectively been pursuing a similar policy to the one Trump has just put in place in the US.

  • Top City lobbying group says Brexit is a once-in-a-generation chance to boost UK trade and investment (City A.M.) An influential City lobby group believes Brexit is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost trade and investment into the UK - despite having previously campaigned to remain in the European Union. TheCityUK says post-Brexit trade agreements could enhance London's status as a leading financial capital and could also create new growth opportunities for the sector across the UK. In particular, the lobby group is urging the government to focus its trade policy on fast-growing countries, and encourage foreign direct investment from the Brics nations. The report also says the UK could take a lead role in areas such as data protection and cyber security.



  • Quebec suspect seen as nerdy outcast,' fan of France's right-wing Le Pen (Reuters) The French-Canadian student charged in a shooting spree that killed six people at a Quebec City mosque was known in online circles as a supporter of far-right French politician Marine Le Pen and described by a former classmate as a "nerdy outcast". Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, the sole suspect in Sunday night's shooting, was charged on Monday with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder with a restricted weapon. Police said he acted alone.


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