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posted on 29 April 2017

Early Headlines: High Worker Taxes, US Has Temp Funding, Net Neutrality Going?, Kurds Supported Erdogan, US To Crack Down On Iran, Russia C. Bank Easing, India Heat, H1B Scam, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 29 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

  • 15 Countries With the Highest Taxes on Workers (Cheat Sheet) During tax season, we are acutely aware of just how much cash is taken from our paychecks before we even have the chance to deposit them. Sure, we might think giving away a third of our paychecks is straight-up baloney. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that bad. This article lists the 15 highest tax countries and the U.S. is not one of them. Number 15 on the list is Spain, average tax of 39.5%.

Now, hold your horses. Labeling a 31.7% average American tax rate as “not that bad" is also “not that good." But shockingly, the average tax on laborers worldwide decreased for the third consecutive year to about 36%, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

U.S.

  • Trump signs one-week funding bill to avoid shutdown (The Hill) President Trump has signed a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown, the White House announced Friday evening. The measure funds the government through May 5, giving lawmakers more time to reach an agreement on an omnibus spending bill that would carry through the rest of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The legislation easily cleared both chambers earlier Friday; the Senate approved the measure by voice vote after the House voted 382-30 to pass it. If the measure had not been adopted, the government would have shutdown at midnight right as the Trump administration entered its 100th day.

  • The ‘Fix’ for Net Neutrality That Consumers Don’t Need (The New York Times) Netflix and Amazon have been nominated for hundreds of Emmys and Golden Globe awards in recent years, and that is a testament to both the quality of those companies and the transformation of television. But some of the credit is also due to “net neutrality," the legal regime that nurtured and protected the open internet and streaming TV in the first place. The Trump administration plans to get rid of this. The article says ...

... [This] proposal is of dubious legality. But should it succeed, the only real winners will be the cable and phone industries, which will gain yet another way to raise prices for everyone. The proposal is the epitome of senseless government action and sharply out of step with Mr. Trump’s populist mandate. Did Trump voters really vote for higher cable bills?

  • Trump team did background check on Flynn, knew of Turkey ties: report (The Hill) Trump and other White House officials have blamed former President Barack Obama for authorizing Flynn's security clearance. Flynn served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama before advising Trump's campaign and joining his administration. But it appears that the Trump transition team did their own vetting of Flynn and were aware of his foreign connections.

Turkey

Iran

American pressure on Iran is about to resume.

It all but disappeared as President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry gave away one concession after another in the run-up to the completion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - the Iran nuclear deal - in 2015. Such pressure never really got going again, since Obama wanted Iran’s cooperation in implementing the deal and then flinched at anything the Iranians might use as a pretext to walk away from the agreement.

President Trump may not be quite ready to tear that deal up, as he promised on the campaign trail, but his administration has begun to heavily scrutinize Iranian behavior in the Middle East that undermines our strategic position and the security of our allies. And the next step, which officials are preparing to take, will be to rein in that mischief-making.

  • Iran offers India to run phase one of Chabahar Port (The Economic Times) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. Iran has recently proposed to India to manage phase one of the port built by Iran at Chabahar. The port offers maritime access to Afghanistan though Iran. This phase would last for two years and be renewable for ten

Russia

  • Bank of Russia Answers Putin's Call With Frontloaded Easing (Bloomberg) Russia’s central bank signaled it will frontload interest-rate cuts after inflation slowed and President Vladimir Putin said the government is weighing measures to influence the ruble. The Bank of Russia said its “assessment of the overall potential" for easing this year is unchanged after decreasing the one-week auction rate to 9.25% from 9.75%, according to a statement on Friday. Only six of 42 economists forecast the move. At the previous meeting in March, policy makers cut the benchmark by a quarter-percentage point after a six-month pause. The central bank said:

“Inflation is moving towards the target, inflation expectations are still declining and economic activity is recovering. Given the moderately tight monetary policy, the 4 percent inflation target will be achieved before the end of 2017 and will be maintained close to this level in 2018-2019."

India

  • Animals struggling to cope with ‘driest’ year (The Hindu) As intensifying heat grips the hilly forests of Tamil Nadu in the summer months, thirst-driven animals in these areas are facing higher mortality rates, and sometimes wander into human habitations

With 2016 now officially classified as the driest year since records began more than half a century ago, the lack of rainfall in the Nilgiris had a significant impact on the animals here.

According to estimates, five to seven elephants may have died in various parts of the Nilgiris in 2017 due to a lack of green fodder, accentuated by the drought-like conditions, while it is hard to estimate how many other herbivores died over the last three months.

Meet Théo Negri, techie from France who's now on the celeb circuit for H1B soundbites via the world’s leading rags and online think tankery.

My application wasn’t rejected! I didn’t stand a chance in the first place because these outsourcing companies flood the system with thousands of applications!" exclaims Théo relating how he began to expose the ills of the H1B lottery system.

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