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posted on 11 March 2017

Early Headlines: US Moral Authority, Central Bank Digital Currency, Climate Lawsuit, DOL Temp Ruling On Fiduciary, Russian Oil Companies, S. Korea Reset In Asia And More

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Early Bird Headlines 11 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

  • Allies Fear Trump Is Eroding America’s Moral Authority (The New York Times) Interviews with more than a dozen former diplomats, professors, human rights advocates and international politicians, both abroad and in the United States, suggested that the United States under President Trump was poised to cede not only the traditional global role as a moral authority on the world stage, but also its ability to lead by example.

  • The “Sinister" Side of Central Bank-Issued Digital Currency (Medium) Central banks around the world are either exploring or taking the first steps towards establishing digital versions of national (or “fiat") currencies. Central bank-issued digital currency is under consideration in Canada, China, Sweden and the United Kindgom. India withdrew 86 per cent of all cash as legal tender in November 2016. Last month, we saw early signs that the European Central Bank is considering the feasibility of “digital-based money". Econintersect: The author shoots down all the argued advantages of digital currency and details some disadvantages, such as loss of personal control of you money. We would add a significant factor is the loss of privacy. Private cash transactions would no longer exist; every purchase you make would be recorded by "Big Brother".

U.S.

  • This climate lawsuit could change everything. No wonder the Trump administration doesn’t want it going to trial (The Washington Post) A groundbreaking climate lawsuit, brought against the federal government by 21 children, has been hailed by environmentalists as a bold new strategy to press for climate action in the United States. But the Trump administration, which has pledged to undo Barack Obama’s climate regulations, is doing its best to make sure the case doesn’t get far. The Trump administration this week filed a motion to overturn a ruling by a federal judge back in November that cleared the lawsuit for trial - and filed a separate motion to delay trial preparation until that appeal is considered. The lawsuit - the first of its kind - argues the federal government has violated the constitutional right of the 21 plaintiffs to a healthy climate system.

  • Trump Nominates Scott Gottlieb, MD, to Head FDA (Medscape) President Donald Trump has nominated Scott Gottlieb, MD, a physician with broad experience in government service, health policy, and drug development, to be the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The nominee matches up with Trump's vision - and that of Congressional Republicans - of a less regulated FDA that makes it easier for drug and device makers to get innovative products to market. However, his critics warn that an agency with Dr Gottlieb at the helm could be less committed to ensuring that those products are safe and effective, given his ties to the pharmaceutical industry and his penchant for deregulation.

So, as a middle-aged childless man you resent having to pay for maternity care or kids’ dental care. Shouldn’t turnabout be fair play? Shouldn’t pregnant women and kids be able to say, “Fine, but in that case why should we have to pay for your Viagra, or prostate cancer tests, or the heart attack and high blood pressure you are many times more likely to suffer from than we are?" Once you start down that road, it’s hard to know where to stop. If you slice and dice risks, eventually you don’t have a risk pool at all, and the whole idea of insurance falls apart . . .

“... although the department intends to issue a decision on the March 2 proposal in advance of the April 10 applicability date, financial services institutions have expressed concern about investor confusion and other marketplace disruption based on uncertainty about whether a final rule implementing any delay will be published before April 10, whether there may be a ‘gap’ period during which the fiduciary duty rule becomes applicable before a delay is published after April 10, or whether the department may decide either before or after April 10 not to issue a delay based on its evaluation of the public comments."

Germany

  • Deutsche Bank Tries to Stay Alive (Wolf Street) One of the hardest things to do is to shrink your way to profitability. This is especially true when you are also trying to raise additional capital from shareholders. This good discussion gives the gruesome details.

Russia

Japan

  • Japanese importers do double take on not-so-cheap US shale gas (Nikkei Asian Review) American LNG (liquified natural gas) is priced 60% to 70% higher than LNG from other sources. When the contracts were signed in 2011 U.S. LNG was cheaper. The price for the American LNG is linked to benchmark gas prices in the U.S. Asian LNG is linked to the price of oil. Thise price references have reversed over the past 6 years. If oil prices bounce back the current relatuionships may again reverse. But for now Japanese buyers are going to be taking less LNG from the U.S. than their contracts would allow.

South Korea

  • Park’s Ouster Raises Prospect of Reset With China, Kim Jong Un (Bloomberg) The impeachment of Park Geun-hye opens the door for a reset in ties with North Korea and China. The leading candidates to replace Park, who was ousted as president by South Korea’s constitutional court on Friday, favor a softer touch with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. They’re also open to rethinking the deployment of the Thaad missile shield, which has spurred Chinese retaliation against South Korean companies. John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul said:

“The liberals believe that if you engage with North Korea, then they could get some kind of missile-test moratorium. The Chinese strategy will be to push just hard enough so the South Korean public sees the cost of having Thaad, but not too hard that you unleash outrage."

Cambodia

Half a century after United States B-52 bombers dropped more than 500,000 tonnes of explosives on Cambodia's countryside Washington wants the country to repay a $US500 million ($662 million) war debt.

The demand has prompted expressions of indignation and outrage from Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

Canada

  • Canada says most border-crossing asylum seekers were in U.S. legally (Reuters) Most of the people crossing the U.S. border into Canada to claim asylum had been in the United States legally, and Canada is sharing their information with U.S. authorities to help understand the phenomenon, a top official said on Friday. Several hundred asylum seekers, mainly from Africa but also the Middle East, have entered Canada. The refugees and migrant agencies blame the exodus on moves by U.S. President Donald Trump to clamp down on immigration. Ottawa says there is a chance the flow of people will increase as the weather improves.

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