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posted on 05 March 2017

Early Headlines: Asia's Fading Promise, New Low Antarctic Sea Ice, Pro-Trump Rallies, More Wiretapping Charges, Raw March For Europe, China Cuts Growth Target, Canada's Tundra Thaw And More

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Early Bird Headlines 05 March 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.

early-bird-301-180

Global

The temperature reached its record high of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit on March 24, 2015, according to an announcement by the WMO, which often takes years to verify new records.

The news came as sea ice around Antarctica is experiencing its lowest extent ever. As of March 1, only 820,000 square miles of the ocean around Antarctica was covered in ice, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. The loss of ice represents an all-time minimum for Antarctic sea ice cover since satellite observations began in 1979.

antarctic.sea.ice.report.2017.mar.03

brookings.podcast.refugee.crisis

U.S.

"This allegation has serious implications. @POTUS should provide more info to Congress immediately to assess constitutionality and legality."

President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Saturday night added to Trump's baseless allegations earlier in the day of wiretapping on the part of the Obama administration.

Lewandowski, who now has a lobbying firm, claimed on Fox News without offering evidence that the Obama administration also listened in on conversations between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Russia's ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak last year.

Today, politicians in thrall to neoliberal ideology seek to subordinate the democratic mission of public education to a theory of market-driven economic development and social organization. The phantasmagorical belief in neutral “scientific" expertise as the primary basis for policymaking has, therefore, profoundly antihuman as well as antidemocratic implications.

The major education reforms of the past 35 years - education vouchers, charter schools, tuition tax credits, and education savings accounts - all seek to remove public schools from the control of elected bodies; to subject them to the “laws" of the “market"; and to put them at the service of the economic elite.

EU

  • Wet, Windy March Awaits Europe After Cold Weather Pummeling (Bloomberg) The last month of winter in Europe is forecast to bring windstorms, prolonged periods of rain and possibly one last cold snap, according to a Bloomberg survey of five meteorologists. While another freeze could lift power and natural gas prices, traders have been bearish on gas for three weeks as the region comes increasingly well-supplied with the fuel. It’s a fitting end to a bizarre winter, marked by the coldest January in seven years and a February where temperatures reached as much as 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit) above the seasonal average.

UK

  • Chancellor’s £60bn Brexit fighting fund (The Sunday Times) Philip Hammond will use this week’s budget to build up a £60 billion ($75 billion) Brexit war chest to boost Britain’s “resilience" to economic turbulence as the UK withdraws from the European Union. Writing in The Sunday Times today, the chancellor warns that leaving the EU will lead to “un­expected challenges" and says it would be “reckless" to turn on the spending taps before Brexit in 2019. Hammond will announce today that he is pouring £500m into a fresh attempt to boost the skills of British workers in preparation for the world after Brexit.

Egypt

  • Emerging-Market Investors Take a Shine to Egypt (Bloomberg) Since November, the pound's appreciation has been faster than most expected, pointing to a more balanced and efficient market. External flows are helping instill stability in the foreign exchange market. The successful sale of Eurobonds has encouraged carry-trade investors who have invested more than $2 billion since the float, as per the Central Bank of Egypt. Egypt's stock market is one the best performers in emerging markets and the best in Africa. The Egyptian pound has appreciated 15% so far this year - see graph - which multiplies the stock market gains in local currency by 1.15.

Iraq

  • U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launch fresh push toward Mosul old city center (Reuters) U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched on Sunday a new push toward the Islamic State-held old city center of Mosul, on the western bank of the Tigris river, an Iraqi military spokesman said. Iraqi forces are fighting their way toward the old center of the city, advancing from the south and the southwest, Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the joint operations command, told state-run television. Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris river on Feb. 19.

China

  • China cuts growth target as it pushes through reforms, builds 'firewall' against risks (Reuters) China has cut its growth target this year as the world's second-largest economy pushes through painful reforms to address a rapid build-up in debt, and constructs a "firewall" against financial risks. China aims to expand its economy by around 6.5% in 2017, Premier Li Keqiang said at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament on Sunday. China targeted growth of 6.5% to 7% last year and ultimately achieved 6.7%, the slowest pace in 26 years. A lending binge and increased government spending have fueled worries among China's top leaders about elevated debt levels and an overheating housing market.

  • China's Wage Growth: How Fast Is the Gain and What Does It Mean? (INET) New findings show that hourly wage-rates in China are higher than in middle-income countries and are approaching the levels of Greece and Portugal. China will move from a having vast supply of low-cost workers to being a labor-shortage economy between 2020 and 2025, according to an IMF paper published four years ago. The concept, usually known as the Lewis Turning Point, describes a transition to rapid wage increases as an economy runs down its surplus labor supply in the agrarian sector. New evidence shows that that the threshold may be approaching even faster than the IMF had predicted. This will offer the lower-income countries an opportunity to pursue a China-style growth miracle.

Canada

Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth - an expanse the size of Alabama.

According to researchers with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, the permafrost collapse is intensifying and causing landslides into rivers and lakes that can choke off life downstream, all the way to where the rivers discharge into the Pacific Ocean.

Similar large-scale landscape changes are evident across the Arctic including in Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia, the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Geology in early February. The study didn’t address the issue of greenhouse gas releases from thawing permafrost. But its findings could help quantify the immense global scale of the thawing, which will contribute to more accurate estimates of carbon emissions.

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