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posted on 22 March 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Dollar Down, Oil, Gold Flat, GOP Health Care, NASA Funded, EU Depressions, Brexit Fin Service Moves, Japan Exports Surge, Brazil's Bad Meat And More

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Early Bird Headlines 22 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.



  • Nikkei down more than 2% after failed NKorea missile test (CNBC) Japanese stocks sold off on Wednesday, weighed by a stronger yen and after an apparent North Korea missile test that reports said failed. Reuters, citing Yonhap news agency, reported the isolated nation in the Korean peninsula may have conducted a missile launch with a U.S. military spokesman adding that "a missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch." Other Asian markets were also off Wednesday, although by smaller margins than Japan. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell below the 100 handle to 99.785 at 1:48 p.m. HK/SIN. Spot gold was trading at $1,244.36 per ounce, up for its sixth consecutive session and near a three-week high. During Asian hours, U.S. crude fell 0.1% to $48.18 a barrel, after it fell to its lowest since Nov. 29 to settle at $47.34 during U.S. hours on Tuesday. Brent crude was flat at $50.94.


  • U.S. Raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen Led to Laptop Ban on Flights, Officials Say (The Daily Beast) Three intelligence sources told The Daily Beast that the ban on carry-on electronics aboard U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East was the result of information seized during a U.S. raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen in January. The United Kingdom joined the U.S. ban Tuesday. Information from the raid shows al Qaeda's successful development of compact, battery bombs that fit inside laptops or other devices believed to be strong enough to bring down an aircraft, the sources said. The battery bombs would need to be manually triggered, a source explained, which is why the electronics ban is only for the aircraft cabin not checked luggage.


  • This obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all (The Hill) Pence could invoke a rule change that would require 60 votes to overturn and only 41 to sustain. Then Obamacare could be totally repealed as part of an appropriations bill, requiring only 50 votes to pass (with Pence casting a tie-breaker). The Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate. The details are complicated - read the article.

  • Trump Warns House Republicans: Repeal Health Law or Lose Your Seats (The New York Times) President Trump on Tuesday turned up the pressure on recalcitrant Republicans to support a sweeping bill to overhaul the health care system, threatening wavering lawmakers in his party with political payback if they failed to get behind a measure that has become an early test of his negotiating power. In a series of meetings and phone calls at the White House and on Capitol Hill, Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican congressional leaders haggled with holdouts over issues including regulatory details and Cuba policy as they struggled to assemble a majority to support a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The legislation is scheduled for a floor vote in the House on Thursday. But at a private meeting with House Republicans at the Capitol, the president also delivered a blunt warning that many of those present would lose their seats in next year’s midterm congressional elections if the effort failed.

  • Tillerson: 'I didn't want this job' (The Hill) Rex Tillerson said the job of secretary of State wasn't a role he sought out. "I didn't want this job. I didn't seek this job," Tillerson told the Independent Journal Review in an interview during his recent Asia trip.

When asked why he agreed to take on the position of secretary of State, Tillerson said his wife "told me I'm supposed to do this".

During the interview, Tillerson said he had never met President Trump before the election. After his victory, the president wanted to talk with Tillerson "about the world."

  • Preet Bharara: New York Times Promotes a False Narrative (Pam and Russ Martens, Wall Street on Parade) The Martens have contributed to GEI. They write about The New York Times portrayal of fired U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, as “Prosecutor Who Knew How to Drain a Swamp". The Martens write:

That’s fake news at its finest. Despite Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, presiding over an unprecedented series of frauds upon the investing public at their banks, these men remain firmly entrenched as overpaid titans in the impenetrable toxic muck of the Wall Street Swamp.

  • Trump signs NASA funding bill, sets goal of human on Mars (The Hill) President Trump on Tuesday signed a bill authorizing funding for NASA while setting a new goal to send humans to Mars. The president signed the bill in the Oval Office flanked by authors and sponsors of the bill, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) The law, known as the NASA Transition Authorization Act, gives the space agency $19.5 billion in funding for fiscal year 2018. It also asks the agency to create a plan to send a “crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s".


  • Major EU Countries' GDP Since 2008 (Twitter) Spain and Italy are in 9-year depressions and Italy is still near the bottom. The strongest GDP is the UK. What is it about rats on the top deck getting off a sinking ship first?



Click for large image.



  • Lawyer for Russian whistle blower's family falls out of apartment building before court date (CNBC) Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer representing the family of a Russian whistle blower was reportedly thrown out of his Moscow apartment on Tuesday. Gorokhov was working to launch a probe into the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured and died in prison in 2009 following his investigation into a $230 million fraud allegedly involving Russian government officials and criminals. Gorokhov had severe head injuries and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit of Botkin hospital


  • Japan Feb exports jump, surplus with U.S. raises fears of trade tensions (Reuters) Japan's exports grew the most in more than two years in February, rebounding from a Lunar New Year slowdown in January, as a widening trade surplus with the United States potentially raises tensions in the face of rising U.S. protectionism. Annual export growth of 11.3% topped a 10.6% increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 1.3% rise in January, marking the biggest gain since January 2015, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday. Exports to the United States rose 0.4% in February from a year ago, largely from bigger shipments of cars and auto parts. Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, rose 28.2% year-on-year in February, accelerating from a 3.1% gain in the previous month. This performance helped Japan log a trade surplus of 111.8 billion yen with China - its first in five years.

  • Japan Balance of Trade (Trading Economics) February saw Japan register the largest trade surplus since April 2016. However, the two month total was a deficit 0f 273.5 billion yen, only the second two-month deficit in the past year ( the other was December-January).

North Korea

  • Exclusive - North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms: envoy (Reuters) North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programmes, a North Korean envoy told Reuters on Tuesday. This includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the North Korean mission to the United Nations in Geneva.


  • Baidu's Chief Scientist Ng to Depart in Setback for AI Push (Bloomberg) The chief scientist helping drive Baidu Inc.’s push into artificial intelligence is quitting the Chinese search giant, putting at risk its efforts to put AI at the center of a business revival. Andrew Ng, a Stanford University academic who worked on deep learning at Alphabet Inc. before joining Baidu in 2014, said he’s leaving the business next month. Ng doesn’t plan to join another technology company and will seek to bring AI into sectors such as health care and education around the world.


  • Why Brazil's Tainted-Meat Probe Worries the World: QuickTake Q&A (Bloomberg) Though Brazil has generated more than its share of scandal and corruption allegations recently, a new probe into sales of tainted meat there has sent shock waves far and wide. The so-called Weak Flesh investigation has generated allegations of widespread bribery and sales of bad meat both at home and overseas. In response, several countries have either banned or curbed beef and poultry from Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of both.

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