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posted on 23 April 2017

Early Headlines: CB Bal. Sheets Still Growing, GOP Doing Too Much, May Threw Ulster Under Bus, French Election, China Vs. Pollution, Venzuela Gave To Trump Inaug., And More

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Early Bird Headlines 23 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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In the week ahead, lawmakers already face an immediate Friday deadline of keeping federal agencies funded through the remainder of the year. Yet Trump’s advisers continue to toss into the mix big items they would like to see accomplished, giving the appearance of a frenzied search for wins ahead of Saturday’s symbolically important 100th day of the new presidency.

  • President Trump awards Purple Heart to wounded service member (ABC News) President Trump made his first visit as president to Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday, awarding the Purple Heart to Army Sgt. 1st Class Alvaro Barrientos.

  • President Trump at 100 Days: No honeymoon, but no regrets (POLL) (ABC News) There's no honeymoon for Donald Trump in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, but also no regrets: He approaches his 100th day in office with the lowest approval rating at this point of any president in polls since 1945 - - yet 96% of those who supported him in November say they'd do it again today. All told, 42% of Americans approve of Trump's performance as president, while 53% disapprove. That compares to an average of 69-19% for past presidents at or near 100 days in office - - for example, 69-26% for Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

  • Majorities say Trump lacks the judgment and the temperament it takes to serve effectively.

  • Six in 10 doubt his honesty and trustworthiness.

  • Six in 10 see him as out of touch and don't think he understands the problems of people like them.

  • And 56% say he hasn't accomplished much in his first 100 days.

  • And 55% say he doesn't follow a consistent set of principles in setting policy (though fewer see this as a problem, 48%).


When Theresa May called a snap election in the UK, I was reminded of an old truism of British politics: that there is complete lack of interest in what is going on in Northern Ireland.

If the prime minister thought one jot about it, she would have remembered that Northern Ireland still doesn’t have a functioning government. She would have noted that she is holding a national vote while talks are ongoing to salvage the fragile power-sharing relationship between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin. A Westminster election will concentrate minds and enmities right back into Northern Ireland’s favoured zero-sum political division instead of reaching agreement.


  • France prepares to vote for new president amid high security (BBC News) Polls are now open as France is voting in presidential elections today (Sunday), amid high security after a fatal assault on a Paris policeman three days ago. About 50,000 police and 7,000 soldiers are being deployed around the country after Thursday's attack by a gunman.

Eleven candidates are vying to be the country's next president, with leading candidates spanning the political spectrum from far-left to far-right.

The two with the most votes will go to a run-off round in a fortnight's time.

  • French election: where the candidates stand on foreign policy (The Conversation) Even though foreign policy has been forgotten during this campaign, its implications will be major, not only for France, but for the rest of Europe and the international community. As such, it should hopefully - although, unlikely - play a more predominant role in the last few days of campaigning and during the two-week wait for the second round of voting for the two leading candidates on May 7. There are unprecedented divisions among the 4-5 leading candidates regarding foreign policy, with Marine Le Pen at the most extreme.


  • US discriminating against Chinese firms, says TCL boss (BBC News) The chief executive of one of China's biggest companies has accused the US of discrimination and protectionism since the election of President Donald Trump. Li Dongsheng of consumer electronics firm TCL told the BBC that regulators had blocked the agreed purchase of an American technology firm. Mr Li declined to name the company, but stressed that it was involved in civilian, not military, technology. He said that the deal was stopped because his firm was Chinese.

  • China probe uncovers environment breaches at two-thirds of firms - ministry (Reuters) More than two thirds of the companies investigated by China in its latest campaign against pollution have violated environmental rules, a environment ministry official told a briefing on Friday. China launched a campaign earlier this month aimed at "normalising compliance" in 28 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, a major pollution hotspot.

Tian Weiyong, head of the monitoring department at the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), said 4,077 firms had already been investigated as part of the campaign, and 2,808 firms were found to have violated environmental rules, 69 percent of the total.

China imposed total fines of 6.63 billion yuan ($963.30 million)for environmental violations in 2016, up 56 percent compared to the previous year, the environment ministry said in a statement ahead of the Friday briefing.

It said it punished a total of 137,800 environmental violations in 2016, up 34 percent from 2015, in its efforts to boost environmental law enforcement and compliance.


  • Ecuador fines media for not publishing a story (BBC News) Ecuador has fined seven media companies for not publishing a story that it deemed of public interest. The state's media watchdog said the press had a duty to cover a story about the supposed offshore dealings of opposition politician and recent presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso. The investigation was published in an Argentine newspaper in March.

The watchdog and the media companies have accused each other of censorship. Appeals are under way.

The ruling was made against newspapers El Comercio, La Hora, Expreso and El Universo, and television channels Televicentro, Teleamazonas and Ecuavisa.

The watchdog, known as Supercom, has fined the companies $3,750 (£3,000), the equivalent of 10 journalists' basic salaries, it said.


  • Venezuela state oil company gave cash to Trump inauguration (BBC News) Venezuela has donated $500,000 to US President Donald Trump's inauguration, newly released records show. Citgo Petroleum, a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, is named in papers filed with the Federal Election Commission. The revelation comes as the Venezuelan economy appears to be crippled by food shortages, violent crime and inflation.

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