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posted on 05 April 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar, Gold Steady, Oil Up, WW III In E. China Sea?, Susan Rice Villain, New N. Korea Missile, Syrian Gas Attack, Mexican Drugs Fuel Immigration, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 05 April 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.

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Global

asia.pac.2017.apr.05

  • World War III nightmare scenario brewing in the East China Sea (CNBC) While the world watches mounting military tensions in the South China Sea, another, more ominous situation is brewing in the East China Sea that could be the trigger point for a major war between the superpowers. At the heart of tensions are eight uninhabited islands controlled by Japan that are close to important shipping lanes, rich fishing grounds and potential oil and gas reserves. China contests Japan's claims and is escalating its military activity in Japan airspace. In response, Japan has been doubling its F-15 jet intercepts. The situation increases the risk of an accidental confrontation - and could draw other countries, like the United States, into a conflict. It's a topic President Trump will likely bring up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate this week. Map below from Wikipedia:

U.S.

  • Today in Conservative Media: Susan Rice, Villain (Slate) Here is a pretty thorough summary of all the "right-wing" news sources tpday with commentary on the Susan Rice story. It has been alleged that Ms. Rice requested that people associated with Trump be unmasked from security surveillance records.

  • U.S. coal companies ask Trump to stick with Paris climate deal (Reuters) Some big American coal companies have advised President Donald Trump's administration to break his promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement - arguing that the accord could provide their best forum for protecting their global interests. Remaining in the global deal to combat climate change will give U.S. negotiators a chance to advocate for coal in the future of the global energy mix, coal companies like Cloud Peak Energy Inc and Peabody Energy Corp told White House officials over the past few weeks, according to executives and a U.S. official familiar with the discussions. The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said:

"The future is foreign markets, so the last thing you want to do if you are a coal company is to give up a U.S. seat in the international climate discussions and let the Europeans control the agenda. They can’t afford for the most powerful advocate for fossil fuels to be away from the table."

  • North Korea fires missile as US official says 'clock has now run out' on Pyongyang (Fox News) North Korea fired an apparent ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, South Korea's military said early Wednesday. The launch came hours after U.S. President Donald Trump described North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear arsenal as a "humanity problem" and a senior U.S. official told reporters that the "clock has now run out" on Pyongyang. Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile fired from the North's eastern coastal town of Sinpo on Wednesday morning flew about 37 miles. It gave no further details. Wednesday's firing was made as South Korean and U.S. troops were conducting annual military drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal. North Korea often responds to the drills with its own military training and harsh rhetoric.

  • CNN Had a Problem. Donald Trump Solved It. (The New York Times) CNN had maintained a "neutral" presence over the years and audiences became bored with the "milquetoast" demeanor. Ten along came Donald Trump's rejection of the network as "fake news" and the popularity of CNN soared. This is a long article but very interesting reading.

  • Analysis: Sean Spicer and Stephen Bannon’s poll numbers are even worse than Trump’s (The Washington Post) President Trump's approval numbers have sunk faster than those of any president in the modern era. The good news for him is that someone else in politics today has it worse. The bad news is that they are his top spokesman, Sean Spicer, and his top strategist, Stephen K. Bannon. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that views of Spicer and Bannon continue to dim alongside Trump's. Although the two aren't nearly as well-known as the commander in chief, the people who do know them like them even less than America likes Trump.

  • Yates warned her testimony could be barred (USA Today) A letter from the Justice Department indicated that much of former acting attorney general Yates' possible testimony be fore the House Intelligence Committee could be covered by presidential privilege, said a government official speaking on condition of anonymity because officials were not authorized to speak publicly. Yates' attorney was then referred to White House counsel Donald McGahn. On the day that McGahn was notified of Yates' intention to testify, Nunes canceled the hearing. White House spokesman Sean Spicer acknowledged the sequence of events, but asserted that the White House took no action to block Yates' testimony. That statement was moot, however, because the House session was canceled before a response might have been given.

Syria

It is currently not clear if the deaths were caused by chlorine or another agent such as sarin. Both count as chemical weapons, which are illegal. Syria supposedly destroyed all of its sarin stockpiles and production facilities when it joined the Chemical weapon Convention - although evidence to the contrary has emerged.

Russia strongly denies that the Syrian air force is using chlorine. But the Syrian air force is. This has been categorically proven in a series of reports by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Mission OPCW-UN, which Russia begrudgingly allowed to take place.

cbs.news.syrian.gas.attack

  • ISIS Officially Taunts Trump, Ending a Conspicuous Silence (The New York Times) Although members and supporters of the Islamic State have frequently commented on President Trump and his policies, analysts have been puzzled by the terrorist group’s official silence about him. Mr. Trump had not been mentioned in any of the group’s official media - all frequent venues for criticism or taunting of former President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

More than two months after Mr. Trump was sworn in as president, the Islamic State’s spokesman on Tuesday released the group’s first official statement on him, in an audio recording calling him an “idiot" and deriding his attacks on Muslims, among other claims.

Even then, Mr. Trump was only indirectly insulted rather than called out by name.

China

The region, which was announced by leaders of China's Communist Party on Saturday, is designed to "spur economic growth," "take over Beijing's noncapital roles," and "serve as another economic engine and advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region," according to China Daily.

Xiongan will also explore a new way of developing densely populated areas, and it could help with the likes of traffic congestion and air pollution.

The Guardian reported that homebuyers immediately flocked to the area in hopes of buying property to resell in the future at a higher price. Property prices nearly doubled in the hours after the announcement on Saturday, according to local media.

Mexico

  • U.S. Appetite for Mexico’s Drugs Fuels Illegal Immigration (The New York Times) Each year, Mexican drug cartels rake in billions of dollars in profits from the sale of heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs in the United States. The money has to make its way south somehow. Though the cartels sometimes hire legitimate companies to buy goods like silk and ink cartridges and export them to Mexico, where they are sold for pesos, a more common method is to simply pay someone to drive the cash over the border. President Trump has talked frequently about “bad hombres" streaming in from Mexico. But it is the flow of money going from north to south - a product of Americans’ voracious appetite for illicit drugs - that officials say is an equal part of the problem.

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